Online fer­vor for Berwick ebbs

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers -

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 twit­!/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.”


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