President Barack Obama has officially nominated Donald Berwick, MD, of Massachusetts to be the next administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. If confirmed, Berwick would carry out major provisions of the new health law expanding Medicaid for low-income people and slowing the projected growth of Medicare for older Americans, a job for which most agree the Harvard Medical School professor, pediatrician and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement is extremely well-suited.
"Dr. Berwick has dedicated his career to improving outcomes for patients and providing better care at lower cost," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House. "That's one of the core missions" facing the next administrator, the President said.
Numerous groups, including the American Medical Association, the American College of Cardiology, the American Hospital Association and others hailed the pick. In particular, the AMA commended the president's choice of an individual who is "widely known and well-respected for his visionary leadership efforts that focus on optimizing the quality and safety of patient care in hospitals and across healthcare settings."
However, Berwick must still convince the U.S. Senate that his cost-saving ideas do not equate to rationing and endure critics' scouring of his writings for controversial rhetoric, reports the Boston Globe.
Berwick declined to comment pending his nomination hearings, but released a statement that he "is honored to be nominated and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement is gratified that a leader in health care quality improvement has been recognized by the Obama administration as a strong candidate to head up CMS."