Tavenner Nomination Curries Favor Among Health Care Stakeholders

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The nomination of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Principal Deputy Marilyn Tavenner to lead the agency is garnering support among health care industry stakeholders.

The White House announced just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday that it would tap Tavenner to replace CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, MD. Berwick, who announced his resignation last Wednesday, officially steps down from his post on Friday, December 2.

In a statement issued today, Peter Carmel, president of the American Medical Association (AMA), noted that Tavenner possesses the skills and experience necessary to provide the stable leadership required by CMS given “all the changes and challenges facing the Medicare and Medicaid programs.” The AMA has “worked extensively” with Tavenner in her current role, “and she has been fair, knowledgeable, and open to dialogue,” Carmel asserted.

Alan Rosenbloom, president of the Alliance For Quality Nursing Home Care, echoed Carmel’s sentiments in a similar statement. “We encourage the Senate Finance Committee to expeditiously consider Ms. Tavenner's nomination upon submission, and respectfully urge the U.S. Senate to confirm her before the end of the year, he added.

Senate Republicans do not appear to have the same negative impression of Tavenner as they do of Berwick, whom President Obama was able to move into the Administrator slot only after leveraging a recess appointment to get the job done. While Obama was convinced that Berwick could turn Medicare around, he had no choice other than the recess appointment after Senate Republicans made it clear that they would block his formal nomination.

Top Finance Committee Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) stated last week that the panel would thoroughly vet Tavenner. However, no opposition to her nomination has been expressed by members of the party.