Mar­i­lyn Taven­ner to re­place Berwick as head of CMS

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

The CMS’ sec­ond-in-com­mand, Mar­i­lyn Taven­ner, will take the helm at the agency Dec. 2 when Dr. Don­ald Berwick re­signs his post. Se­nate Repub­li­cans had pledged to block Berwick’s con­fir­ma­tion, lead­ing many to urge Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to se­lect a dif­fer­ent nom­i­nee as Berwick’s re­cess ap­point­ment neared its end-of-the-year dead­line. Taven­ner, former Vir­ginia sec­re­tary of health and hu­man ser­vices, will be named in­terim ad­min­is­tra­tor un­til a Se­nate vote on her nom­i­na­tion, which will likely take place next year, the CMS said. Berwick, founder and former head of the Cam­bridge, Mass.-based In­sti­tute for Health­care Im­prove­ment, was a tar­get of vo­cal op­po­si­tion by Repub­li­cans who cited his past state­ments prais­ing Bri­tain’s so­cial­ized medicine sys­tem. Obama by­passed Congress and named him to the post in July 2010 us­ing a re­cess ap­point­ment. Berwick was widely viewed as an en­gine for im­ple­ment­ing the pres­i­dent’s health­care over­haul. He spear­headed the roll­out of sev­eral ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing the CMS’ in­tro­duc­tion of value-based pur­chas­ing and the Part­ner­ship for Pa­tients, a pa­tient-safety pro­gram. “Un­der Don’s lead­er­ship, CMS has un­der­taken in­no­va­tive new work to drive bet­ter care, bet­ter health and lower costs through im­prove­ment while keep­ing the needs of pa­tients and a com­mit­ment to qual­ity at the cen­ter of all de­ci­sions,” HHS Sec­re­tary Kath­leen Se­be­lius said in an e-mail to staff. In a sep­a­rate e-mail, Berwick asked his col­leagues at the CMS to sup­port Taven­ner. “You al­ready know, as I do, that she shares deeply our com­mit­ment to the im­por­tant work of CMS es­pe­cially as we launch new pro­grams that are trans­form­ing health and our health­care sys­tem.”

Berwick, left, re­signed his post as CMS chief. Taven­ner will be named in­terim ad­min­is­tra­tor un­til a Se­nate vote.

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