President Barack Obama will soon nominate Donald Berwick, MD, to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to a statement released Saturday by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. If nominated and approved, Berwick would relieve Charlene Frizzera, who has been acting administrator of CMS since January 2009. The administrator of CMS is responsible for more than one-third of Americans' healthcare, and would play a major role in implementing the new healthcare reform laws passed last week.
Berwick is currently president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass. According to the Institute, Berwick is one of the nation's leading authorities on healthcare quality and improvement. He is also 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.
Ron Pollack, executive director of the consumer health group Families USA said Berwick is "an excellent choice." "His internationally renowned work promoting quality of healthcare will enable him to bring unparalleled expertise and experience in implementing the new health reform legislation," Pollack said. "Dr. Berwick has been a pioneer in the field of health care quality. As a result, he is in an excellent position to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid in the years ahead."