Berwick appointed head of CMS

Dr. Donald Berwick, president and CEO of Cambridge, MA based Institute for Healthcare Improvement has been appointed by Obama to head up the CMS. President Obama nominated Dr. Berwick back in March and the Senate has not acted to confirm his appointment. Obama used his authority and made a “recess appointment” to put Berwick in place through the end of 2011. Additionally, Berwick is a pediatrician, and recently served as a clinical professor of pediatrics and health care policy at Harvard Medical School, and as professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard School of Public Health.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) tells us on their website they are: “an independent not-for-profit organization helping to lead the improvement of health care throughout the world. Founded in 1991 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, IHI works to accelerate improvement by building the will for change, cultivating promising concepts for improving patient care, and helping health care systems put those ideas into action.” Maureen A. Bisognano, executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO) at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), will become its president and CEO, according to the Cambridge, Mass.-based organization.

No stranger to our health care community, Dr. Berwick comes with his own cheering section. Read, Reactions to Berwick’s CMS Appointment to hear what they are saying. But as all things with the government these days his opposition is there too. Moving outside the health care industry (because I guess these are the real people we should look to when it comes to health care?) the controversy is with his position supporting a one payer system and his views on Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). Read his interview with Biotechnology Healthcare in June of last year.

Pro or con, Dr. Berwick has an enormous job ahead of him as we navigate through the next few years of health care reform. We will be sure to keep up with his progress.