At Long Last, a New Administrator for CMS?
WASHINGTON—Rumors are circulating that in his State of the Union address tonight, President Obama could name a new administrator for CMS.
According to some reports, Glenn Steele Jr., MD, PhD, president and CEO of Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Health System, has emerged as a favorite to lead the agency, which has been without a permanent administrator since Mark McClellan left the post in October 2006. Other sources believe Don Berwick, president and CEO of the non-profit Institute for Healthcare Improvement, could get the nod.
His official biography notes Steele joined Geisinger in 2001 from the University of Chicago, where he served as the Richard T. Crane Professor in the Department of Surgery, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Division of Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine. A past chairman of the American Board of Surgery, he is widely recognized for his investigations into the treatment of primary and metastatic liver cancer and colorectal cancer surgery.
At a Senate Finance Committee roundtable on health reform in April of 2009, committee members questioned Steele at length about Geisinger’s care coordination for the chronically ill. Steele said the health system had developed care standards for chronic diseases like diabetes, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and kidney disease.
“What we’ve shown is that when you increase quality for these groups of high-utilizing patients, you’re also decreasing costs,” Steele told the committee.
He also said the system rewarded physicians and nurses who improved patient care, and that utilizing electronic health records was another factor in Geisinger’s success.
In November, Steele was appointed to the board of directors of WellCare Health Plans, concurrent with the resignation from the board of Ruben King-Shaw. King-Shaw, CEO of DME provider All-Med Services of Florida, is a former COO and deputy administrator of CMS.
Don Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP, is an authority on health care quality and improvement, according to his biography. He is a clinical professor of pediatrics and health care policy at the Harvard Medical School, and professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. He also has served as vice chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a member of the board of trustees of the American Hospital Association and chair of the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.