Q: How does it feel to be the newly appointed chair of the Medicare Patient Advisory Commission?

A:I’m thrilled and honored. It’s just going to be a very challenging year. 

Q: What’s looming large?

A:Obviously, there are two challenges: The pandemic has had major impacts on the healthcare delivery system. That will have to be taken into account with our deliberations. Then there are some basic things: How are we going to have meetings public and details like that. 

Q: How is COVID-19 going to affect MedPAC’s decisions regarding nursing homes? 

A:It is clear that the long-term care providers … are really challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the clinical characteristics of COVID-19 put a lot of burden on those providers. When we look at the health of the industry we’ll have to take everything into account.

Q: What is your aim as chair?

A:My main goal is to provide the best advice for Congress to ensure Medicare beneficiaries have access to high-quality, efficiently provided care. We are at a very challenging time for the healthcare system, so I want to make sure our recommendations reach the highest standards for analytic vigor and address the most important topics [for] Congress.