CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner will Step Down at the End of February
January 16, 2015 02:35 PM
CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced Friday that she is resigning at the end of February. Her temporary replacement will be Andy Slavitt, formerly a UnitedHealth Group executive who is now CMS’ Principal Deputy Administrator. Tavenner, 63, spent more than three years in the post as both Acting Administrator and, after a vote of 91 – 7 in May 2013, as the confirmed Administrator.
As the head of the organization that oversees the Medicare and Medicaid programs, Tavenner was responsible for helping with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As acting head of CMS, Marylin Tavenner’s leadership helped the home health community resolve a problem with inadequate outlier payments – an issue that NAHC first told CMS about in 2010 - that the acting administrator worked quickly to resolve.
Upon her confirmation in the Senate, NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris stated that, “Ms. Tavenner brought her wealth of health care experience as a nurse, health care executive and government official at the state level to the position. “
Those who have worked with her have reported her to be a “pragmatic” leader who handles problems with decisiveness while focusing on the needs of patients. Tavenner has stated that her experience as a nurse has taught her to approach a problem by figuring out how to get everyone involved in the process and then moving forward together once a decision is made.
In 2012, when she was Acting Administrator, Marilyn Tavenner went on a home care visit with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) in his home state. Her relationship with Senator Moran was one of many strong relationships that she had with lawmakers from both parties.
Given the current political landscape, and CMS’ role in administering and implementing the ACA, it is unlikely that a new, permanent administrator will be named any time soon. In that case, Slavitt and his deputies will be responsible for picking up where Tavenner left off, as well as dealing with looming topics such as ICD-10 implementation, a revision of health IT standards, and several concerns that are specific to the home care and hospice community – particularly the need to address ongoing issues with face-to-face documentation requirement.
NAHC recently asked its members to contact Ms. Tavenner and urge her to adopt a phase-in approach to the face-to-face requirement. To learn more about the phase-in approach, please see NAHC Report, January 13, 2015.