AHCA, Alliance, support Obama's renomination of Tavenner as head of CMS

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CMS Administrator and Secretary of the Medicare Trustees Marilyn Tavenner
CMS Administrator and Secretary of the Medicare Trustees Marilyn Tavenner


Marilyn Tavenner, the acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, has been renominated by President Barack Obama to permanently fill the position.


President Obama originally nominated Tavenner after the departure of Donald Berwick, M.D., in December 2011. Fearing messy confrontations or a possible negative vote, however, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) opted not to bring her nomination to a vote and it expired when the congressional session ended. There has not been a Senate-confirmed head of CMS since 2006.


Tavenner is expected to face stiff questioning from opponents of the Obama healthcare reform law, large parts of which she will be charged with implementing. But her nomination drew support yesterday from many provider groups, including the nation's largest nursing home association, the American Health Care Association, and its affiliate the National Center for Assisted Living.


She “has helped strengthen and encourage our pursuit toward enhanced quality care,” said Mark Parkinson, the president and CEO of ACHA/NCAL. “We commend the White House for recognizing that Ms. Tavenner is a qualified and exemplary leader in healthcare, and encourage the Senate to move forward on her confirmation quickly. The CMS administrator is too important a position to leave open, and Ms. Tavenner is the right leader for the job."


Alan Rosenbloom, the president of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, said Tavenner is "an outstanding choice to lead CMS."


She is a "smart, competent administrator," and "has a strong working knowledge of how Medicare and Medicaid funding adequacy are both integral to the ongoing ability of SNFs to provide high quality long term and post acute care to U.S. seniors,” he said.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking member of the Finance Committee, told Kaiser Health News that the Senate “should give Ms. Tavenner every opportunity to show she is a worthy choice to lead the agency responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and a lot of the implementation of the Obama healthcare law.”


Families USA and the Federation of American Hospitals also issued comments in support of Tavenner on Thursday.