President Obama taps Donald Berwick to run Medicare & Medicaid [04-20-10]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 8:15 am

President Barack Obama on Monday voted for Dr. Donald M. Berwick, who is a health policy specialist, to become the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Dr. Berwick, a Child Specialist, is President of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass., and a Professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.  Berwick, who specializes in health-care policy and pediatrics, has never led such a large organization. As head of the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement, however, he is known for persuading doctors and hospitals to adopt innovative methods for reducing medical errors.

If confirmed by the Senate, Berwick will play a pivotal — and challenging — role in implementing the recently enacted health-care overhaul legislation. The agency, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, must oversee a massive expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor, with an estimated 16 million people expected to join its rolls by 2020. At the same time, Medicare, the insurance program for the elderly, will need to reduce payments to health-care providers by about $400 billion over 10 years without impacting the quality of coverage.

Delegate Sander M. Levin, Democrat of Michigan and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said that Dr. Berwick is a leader who is farsighted.

Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, stated that he is keen to take a look at a speedy analysis of the nomination, which is subject to affirmation by the Senate or the Governing Body.

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