New CMS Leadership team coming into focus

Posted (Last updated )

** Posted 3.6.17

Excerpt from Politico’s Morning eHealth – March 6, 2017, By Arthur Allen

“.. But don't despair, health IT fans. Price's pick for the No. 2 position at CMS, to be announced after the Senate confirms Seema Verma as CMS administrator this week, is a health insurance lawyer who had a hand in starting the ONC.

... Demetrios Kouzoukas served as principal associate deputy secretary at HHS under the George W. Bush years with an emphasis on health IT policy overseeing ONC and …”

G2X TAKE: According to Politico, the new HHS Secretary has already made his decision on who will serve as the number two in command at CMS, with the formal announcement to come after Verma is confirmed. Demetrios Kouzoukas will be a familiar face to many as he served as the HHS Principal Associate Deputy Secretary to close out the Bush years and as the HHS Deputy General Counsel prior to that.

The current Acting Administrator is Patrick Conway, M.D. and the Acting Principal Deputy Administrator is Liz Richter.

Posted 3.2.17

Trump chooses Pence ally to lead Medicaid – March 1, 2017, By Virgil Dickson, Modern Healthcare

Brian Neale has been tapped by the Donald Trump administration as the new director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, according to the agency's former director Cindy Mann.

He will report to Seema Verma, Trump's pick for CMS administrator once she is confirmed by the Senate. Neale didn't immediately return a request for comment on his new appointment.

Neale most recently was ‎executive director at the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee and served as healthcare policy director for Vice President Mike Pence when he was Indiana governor. He worked with both Verma and Pence to create the Healthy Indiana Plan, the state's Medicaid expansion plan also known as known as HIP 2.0.

Edmund Haislmaier, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation who also worked with Trump's transition team on health policy, recalled Neale as knowledgeable person on Medicaid matters…”

G2X TAKE: Verma is not in quite yet, but the process of standing up her team has begun as a former collaborator and supporter of HIP 2.0 has been asked to serve as the new director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. Those firms working at CMS clearly need to be up to speed on  HIP 2.0 as any major Medicaid reform efforts are likely to leverage this experience and any lessons learned. 

We should note that President Trump’s pick to run CMS cleared another hurdle yesterday as Seema Verma was approved by the Senate Committee on Finance Thursday morning by a vote of 13 to 12.

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