Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Will Rearranging CMS Spell Anything New?

With healthcare legislation news taking prominence over the past several weeks, buried in the news has been s the very important announcement of the reorganization of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the upcoming months.

The headline has been the naming of former Virginia Secretary of HHS Marilyn Tavenner as the first principal deputy administrator for CMS, a position that has been defined as the second highest position within the agency. Members of the medical community, such as the American Health Care Association have commended the selection of Ms. Tavenner, not only because of her experience within former Governor Kaine’s cabinet, but also for her 25 years working for the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), as well as working her way up from staff nurse to CEO of Johnston-Willis Hospital.

In addition to the creation of this new post, the decision has been made to merge several of the CMS offices:

To comment on these changes before they have had the opportunity to be integrated would be irresponsible, but history tells us that a streamlining of this caliber has the opportunity to be either significantly efficient or potentially dangerous. Approximately 98 million people rely on CMS’s 4,400 employees for assistance with their Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), so above all else, this reorganization must be done with a communications strategy in place which will allow all customers to know how the process will affect them and all staff members to know what their new responsibilities will be.

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