CMS update

Everybody is looking for information about Charlene Frizzera. You can stop. The bottom line is that CMS will not be making a bio available.

CMS spokesperson Peter Ashkenaz informs me that Frizzera’s role as acting administrator is, just that, purely administrative. Until a permanent CMS administrator is in place, Frizzera, the chief operating officer and a career professional, will essentially be “making sure the trains run on time,” according to Ashkenaz.

As seems to be traditional when the incumbent party loses the White House, one of President Obama’s first acts in office was to halt all pending Bush administration regulations for internal review. That means no federal department or agency will be issuing any new rules or finalizing anything in the works until the Obama administration says so, and that won’t happen in CMS until Obama has his choice in place.

Now who is going to head CMS on a permanent basis? Al Kamen wrote last Friday in the Washington Post that quality guru Don Berwick, Robert Berenson of the Urban Institute and current Medicare Payment Advisory Commission Chairman Glenn Hackbarth are under consideration.

CMS had no comment on that rumor.