The Don Berwick legacy on his last CMS day

As Dr. Donald Berwick exits the administrator post at the Centers for the Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today, the healthcare industry reminisces about his 18 months in office. Although cut short with his own resignation, Berwick's term certainly changed healthcare, for better or for worse, depending on who you talk to.

Among his accomplishments, Kaiser Health News reports, Berwick helped lead Medicare into the revolutionary pay-for-performance approach rather than the traditional fee-for-service. In October, CMS unveiled a final rule for accountable care organizations after the proposed draft received sharp criticism from providers. Following the release of the final rule, providers generally approved of the changes.

Berwick also was a vocal patient safety advocate, leading the Partnership for Patients initiative, a $1 billion program that tests post-hospitalization models for reducing hospital-acquired preventable conditions and saving patient lives.

Under his guidance, CMS also established the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, a $10 billion initiative under health reform. In addition to patient safety goals, the Innovation Center looks to improve delivery models.

However, Berwick wasn't always met with applause. According to Republican critics, Berwick's controversial socialist stance rationed healthcare, they argued.

Marilyn Tavenner now will be taking helm of the CMS administrator post.

For more information:
- read the Health Affairs blog post
- read the Forbes editorial
- here's the Kaiser Health News article

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