By Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, editor-in-chief
When Donald Berwick steps down from his post as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on December 2, he’ll turn the reins over to Marilyn Tavenner, MHA, BSN, RN. Tavenner is not a new face at CMS—she served as acting administrator prior to Berwick’s July 2010 appointment by President Obama and has been principal deputy administrator at CMS since February 2010.
As noted by an article in The Washington Post, Berwick is stepping down in the face of organized opposition to his nomination by Republicans in Congress, who have vowed to block the confirmation he’d need to continue after his recess appointment expires on December 31.
On November 23, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Tavenner for the top post. In her e-mail to CMS staff (carried on the Kaiser Health News site), Kathy Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Resources, says of Tavenner, “Her career as a nurse, hospital administrator, and Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources give her unique insights that position her well to serve as Administrator.”
I certainly hope so. Berwick’s reputation and track record for pinpointing problems in our health system—and more importantly, working to do something about them through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement—was stellar, and he carried this zeal into his government position as he grappled with the daunting task of implementing reforms in the Affordable Care Act. […]