Who is new CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner?

Following last week's surprise announcement that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick is stepping down next month, pundits and the medical community invested in Medicare are turning their attention to the new CMS administrator taking the helm of health reform.

The administration on Wednesday appointed Marilyn Tavenner as the new acting CMS administrator. Tavenner, with an extensive career ranging from a nurse to hospital executive, has previously served as acting CMS administrator, reports Kaiser Health News.

Berwick submitted his resignation months before his position was scheduled to end. Despite his reputation for being a healthcare innovator in overhauling Medicare and Medicaid, Berwick faced considerable Republican opposition for his controversial (and vocal) stance on the British example of single-payer healthcare, reports The Boston Globe.

Tavenner, in contrast, is known for her management rather than policy, without any particular agenda for Medicare and Medicaid, according to The Washington Post. After serving as a nurse at two HCA hospitals in Virginia, Tavenner eventually rose to chief nursing officer and then hospital chief executive in 1993. She later was appointed to secretary of Virginia's Health & Human Services.

It's unclear whether Tavenner will receive the same opposition from Republicans that Berwick faced during the confirmation process, according to The Post. Thus far, Democrats have praised the administration's appointment of Tavenner as the new head of CMS, reports The Hill's Healthwatch.

For more information:
- here's the Boston Globe article
- read the Washington Post article
- read the Kaiser Health News article
- here's the Healthwatch article

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