Obama To Nominate Berwick To Head Up CMS, Officials Say
Donald Berwick is expected to be nominated as the new administrator of CMS, according to Obama administration officials, Bloomberg reports.
Berwick, a physician and quality and patient safety expert who teaches pediatrics and health policy at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, has frequently cited shortfallsÂ in the U.S. health care system.Â He also recommended compensating physicians based on outcomes and making patient information easy to share among providers (Armstrong/Lauerman, Bloomberg, 3/29).
Berwick in 1991 co-founded the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a not-for-profit organization that aims to identify best practices by implementing pilot projects and convening teams of hospital providers to collaborate and improve outcomes for problems ranging from asthma to hospital-acquired infections (Mahar, "Health Beat Blog," Century Foundation, 3/28).
If confirmed, Berwick would become the permanent administrator of CMS, a position that has been vacant since Mark McClellan stepped down from the role in 2006 (Bloomberg, 3/29).
However, heÂ could face strong pushback from Republicans during Senate confirmation hearings, the Wall Street Journal reports, noting that the CMS administrator would take over the "enormous" task of implementing drastic changes under the recently passed health reform law (Adamy/Meckler, Wall Street Journal, 3/29).
Specifically, as CMS administrator, Berwick's primary goals would include expanding insurance coverage to an additional 32 million U.S. residents, making substantial cuts to Medicare to promote efficiency and supervising daily operations at CMS, which distributed 25% of all federalÂ funding in 2009 (Bloomberg, 3/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.