CMS Confirms Tavenner for Administrator Role

The former nurse and hospital company executive, Marilyn Tavenner, has been confirmed as administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Tavenner has been serving as the interim administrator for the CMS since 2010. Her appointment, which has officially been vacant since Dr Mark B. McClellan stepped down in October 2006, came after much debate as to whether or not she should officially lead the organization.

The former nurse and hospital company executive, Marilyn Tavenner, has been confirmed as administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Tavenner has been serving as the interim administrator for the CMS since 2010. Her appointment, which has officially been vacant since Dr Mark B. McClellan stepped down in October 2006, came after much debate as to whether or not she should officially lead the organization. Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, for instance, previously held up her nomination because he was protesting the use of federal money in implementing new health law, instead of the disease prevention it was intended for.

Nevertheless, an overwhelming 91-to-7 vote demonstrated the Senate’s immense support for Ms Tavenner. In her recently approved role for the CMS, Tavenner will be entrusted with carrying out the new healthcare law, which includes the expansion of Medicaid as well as other Affordable Care Act initiatives like healthcare exchanges and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

The CMS agency “provides health insurance to more than 100 million people and spends more than $800 billion a year, which is substantially more than the Defense Department budget,” reported Robert Pear, of The New York Times.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine (Virginia) stated that it is imperative for the country to finally have a confirmed CMS administrator. Senator Kaine said Maryiln Tavenner is the best possible choice because she brings a much-needed patient focus to the program, as well as her expertise in finding healthcare cost savings.

Max Baucus, Senate Finance committee chair, agreed that the CMS needs a leader who can properly see through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and strengthen the future of American healthcare programs. Republican Eric Cantor (Virginia) also favored Tavenner saying, "If there is anyone that I trust to try and navigate the challenges [of the ACA], it is Marilyn Tavenner."

Because Tavenner already has the first-hand experience in managing the CMS, there should be little worries about transition pains. However, as former Medicare administrator Bruce Vladeck noted, the senate confirmation gives Tavenner the little extra backing she needs to lead the CMS in the evolving healthcare marketplace.

Around the Web

Acting Chief Wins Confirmation to Run Medicare and Medicaid [The NY Times]

Senate Confirms Tavenner To Head CMS [Kaiser Health News]

Senate votes 91-7 to confirm Tavenner to head Medicare, Medicaid Services [The Hill]

Senate approves Obama choice to head Medicare [Los Angeles Times]

Tavenner Confirmed as Medicare Chief [MedPageToday]

After seven years, will Medicare finally have a leader? [The Washington Post]