Online fervor for Berwick ebbs
It appears as though there are only a few more months to go in Dr. Donald Berwick’s tenure as CMS administrator, which is scheduled to expire in December, and the online community has stopped paying attention. Berwick, who was ranked fourth on Modern Healthcare’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare for 2011, ignited both passionate support and opposition when he was appointed by President Barack Obama while Congress was in recess.
Outliers recognizes that what appears on the Internet must be taken with a shaker or two of salt, but it appears as though passions on both sides are fizzling out.
A Facebook page titled “100,000 Voices for Don Berwick” appears to have fallen some 99,450 voices short as, at last peek, only 547 people have “liked” the page. Conversely, the Heartland Institute’s Twitter account, Don Berwick Online, at twitter.com/#!/donberwick, which is dedicated to “Tracking the controversial statements and actions of Don Berwick, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,” garnered only 157 followers.
Also, the last of its 13 tweets was posted March 10—eight days before the first comment was posted on the pro-Berwick Facebook page.
True friends of Berwick, of the Facebook variety or not, however, know that Sept. 9 was his 65th birthday, making him the first CMS administrator ever to be a Medicare beneficiary.
“I look forward to it,” Berwick told Kaiser Health News of joining Medicare. “I am lucky, I am employed and love my work and have no plans to retire. I see myself working for a long time, but it’s good to know Medicare is there. It’s security and it feels safe.”