Obama Nominates Berwick as CMS Admin.
Executive gives Harvard professor official nod, confirming earlier expectations.
- By David Kopf
- Apr 23, 2010
President Obama officially announced his nomination of Harvard Professor David Berwick , MD, MPP as administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, confirming earlier rumors and expectations that the well-known healthcare would be the pick.
CMS has had no permanent leadership since Administrator Mark McClellan left the agency in late 2006.
Besides running the agency that is the focal point for the HME industry’s revenues and regulatory, Berwick would sit in a key position to effect the Obama administration’s healthcare reform efforts.
As the also president and CEO at the Institute for HealthCare Improvement, as well as a professor in the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management, Berwick has built a reputation for trying to steer the healthcare industry toward adopting a value-based approach the healthcare costs, and encouraging doctors, hospitals and other providers to share best practices that improve outcomes while driving down costs.
If selected by Pres. Obama, as anticipated, Dr. Berwick’s nomination would undergo review and confirmation by the Senate. Given the ongoing debate over the recently passed healthcare reform legislation, the confirmation could become a forum for that still hotly contested topic.
“Berwick’s appointment could face a lengthy delay if the Senate confirmation process bogs down in a partisan debate over health reform,” noted a statement from the American Association for Homecare. “And if confirmed, he will have an enormous challenge ahead in terms of implementing large-scale changes in Medicare and Medicaid.”
“Since the passage of healthcare reform legislation last month, some GOP members have pledged to hold up Obama nominees who would be responsible for implementing the new regulations,” read a statement from the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers.
AAHomecare also noted that in a 1996 article, , “Quality Comes Home,” that Berwick wrote for the Annals of Internal Medicine, the doctor described his first-hand account of problems related to the delay of appropriate durable medical equipment and care when his own father was recovering from a fall more than a dozen years ago. The problems resulted in a deep pressure ulcer and rehabilitative therapy delays that left his father almost entirely bedridden.
David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.