Long-term care stakeholders said they’re eager to work with the next administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid after she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. 

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure’s nomination was approved 55-44, with four Republicans joining Democrats to vote yes, during a late-morning vote. She takes the reins of the nursing home industry’s top regulatory and funding agency and its $1 trillion budget.

CMS nominee Chiquita Brooks-LaSure speaks
during her April nomination hearing in front
of the Senate Finance Committee.

LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan described her as an “experienced policymaker with proven ability to engage varied stakeholders to achieve a common goal. We look forward to working with her.” 

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, also congratulated Brooks-LaSure. 

“We look forward to working with her to ensure there is an open dialogue with all stakeholders about how to help long-term care providers keep residents safe, while ensuring they receive the highest quality care,” Parkinson said in a statement. 

Brooks-LaSure is the first Black woman to lead the agency since it was established almost six decades ago. 

This is not Brooks-LaSure’s first time at CMS. She previously served as deputy director for policy at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight within the agency, and previously served as the Department of Health and Human Services’ director of coverage policy, where she led the agency’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

She also worked for the Obama administration and helped implement the Affordable Care Act. She was most recently managing director at Manatt Health, a professional services firm.

Harvard healthcare policy expert David Grabowski, Ph.D., added that Brooks-LaSure is a “strong choice to lead CMS during an important period for the Medicare and Medicaid programs.” 

“She has a great deal of health policy experience on a wide range of issues. Following the pandemic, there will be a number of policy priorities related to long-term care,” he told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Tuesday. 

“Some of the top priorities include expanding home- and community-based services, transforming nursing home care, supporting the long-term care workforce, increasing financial transparency and accountability, and making regulations more effective,” he noted.