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Berwick begins tenure at CMS

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

Donald M. Berwick is sworn in as CMS administrator July 12 following a controversial recess appointment to the post (1"The Gray Sheet" July 12, 2010). Making his first official public appearance the next day at a press conference at HHS headquarters in Washington, D.C., Berwick touted the cost savings and health care quality improvements that could be gained from finalized rules on meaningful use of electronic health records. Republican lawmakers would like Berwick to make additional public appearances, specifically before congressional hearings that would explore his nomination and recess appointment. In a July 14 letter, Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee asked Committee Chair Max Baucus, D-Mont., to call a hearing "as soon as possible so that the President's recess appointment does not result in circumventing the open public review that should take place for a nomination of such importance." Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee sent a similar letter, also dated July 14, to Committee Chair Sander M. Levin, D-Mich., stating "our nation's seniors deserve to know what is in store for their health care and how Dr. Berwick intends to manage an agency that controls almost $800 billion in taxpayer funds annually.
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