Marilyn Tavenner Confirmed by Senate to Lead CMS
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
by: VNAA Policy Team

Section: Public Policy and Advocacy

On May 15, the U.S. Senate confirmed Marilyn Tavenner, in a 91 to 7 vote, to become the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Tavenner is the first CMS Administrator to be officially confirmed by the Senate since Mark McClellan in 2004. She became the acting Administrator in late 2011 when Donald Berwick stepped down. Prior to joining the CMS, Tavenner served as the Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources under Democratic Governor Tim Kaine and spend 25 years working for the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). She was also a nurse in her early career.

During Tavenner’s nomination hearing with the Senate Finance Committee in April, Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) asked Tavenner about the home health payment and effect of sequestration. Tavenner submitted the following answer to the Senator’s question:

“[T]he 2% reduction applies to all episodes that have end dates on or after April 1, 2013, regardless of their start date, including episodes that began prior to April 1, 2013. For example, because the final payment for an episode ending on or after April 1, 2013 would be made on or after April 1, 2013, and the funds, or Medicare outlays, for such payment would leave the Trust Funds on or after April 1, 2013, the entire episode is subject to sequestration.”

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) also asked Tavenner a question regarding CMS’ use of a home health moratorium. Tavenner submitted the following answer to Senator Cornyn’s question:

“The use of an enrollment moratorium is a significant and powerful tool Congress provided us to fight fraud in Medicare and Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. I take the authority to impose the use of this tool very seriously. We are closely evaluating the use of the enrollment moratorium authority in areas at high risk of fraud… Because the moratoria authority extends beyond Medicare to also Medicaid, the agency is currently evaluating the impact moratoria would have on access to providers and suppliers in both programs… We want to carefully strike a balance between combatting fraud in high-risk areas and making sure beneficiaries will not be adversely impacted by a moratoria. As detailed in our regulations we would announce any moratorium in the Federal Register explaining our underlying rationale for taking such action in the areas in which it would apply.”

To review all the questions asked of Marilyn Tavenner during her nomination hearing, please click here.

For Marilyn Tavenner’s official biography, please click here.
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