President Obama expected to nominate Donald Berwick to head CMS

President Barack Obama will soon nominate Donald Berwick, MD, to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to a statement released Saturday by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.

If nominated and approved, Berwick would relieve Charlene Frizzera, who has been acting administrator of CMS since January 2009. The administrator of CMS is responsible for more than one-third of Americans’ healthcare, and would play a major role in implementing the new healthcare reform laws passed last week. The law builds on a platform of pay-for-performance and includes provisions to simplify healthcare administration, calling for the widespread use of healthcare IT.

Berwick is a recipient of numerous awards, including the 1999 Joint Commission’s Ernest Amory Codman Award, the 2002 American Hospital Association’s Award of Honor, the 2006 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for Individual Achievement from the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the 2007 William B. Graham Prize for Health Services Research, and the 2007 Heinz Award for Public Policy from the Heinz Family Foundation.