CMS Administrator Seema Verma pushes toward value-based care

(Jon Shaw)

Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Age: 49

Education: She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in health policy and management from Johns Hopkins University.

About her: Since taking the helm of the country's largest payer in 2017, Seema Verma has led the charge on a slew of initiatives and reforms across Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Under her leadership, CMS has launched a number of payment reforms and models, with a particular focus on drug pricing, offering additional plan options for the ACA markets and state flexibility in Medicaid. Prior to serving as CMS administrator, Verma was the president, CEO and founder of SVC Inc., a healthcare consulting firm that she sold prior to joining CMS.

This year, CMS launched two packages of new payment models designed to overhaul a specific service line, one for kidney care and one for primary care. These CMMI demonstrations would immediately impact a wide swath of the Medicare population. In addition, CMS released its hotly awaited plans to rethink the Stark Law and stirred controversy in the industry by releasing a proposal to force hospitals to post online the prices they negotiate with payers.

First job: Working on national policy on behalf of people with HIV and AIDS, as well as for low-income mothers to improve birth outcomes.

Accomplishment she’s most proud of: Through the Patients over Paperwork initiative she launched two years ago, CMS saved $6.6 billion, with a reduction of 42 million hours of burden through 2021, allowing doctors to spend more time with patients. Additionally, Medicare Advantage premiums are their lowest in 13 years, and Part D premiums are their lowest in 7 years.

Problem she’s most passionate about trying to solve: Patients’ lack of access to their health data and electronic health records, lack of price transparency in healthcare, and the lack of payment based on the value of healthcare delivered.

Book she recommends: The Harry Potter series

Advice she’d give her younger self: Never be afraid to speak up.

What she’d do with her career if it wasn’t this: Chef

CMS Administrator Seema Verma pushes toward value-based care

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