President Obama Nominates Marilyn Tavenner to Head CMS

by Rebecca Farley on December 9, 2011

President Obama has formally announced his nomination of Marilyn Tavenner as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), after CMS Administrator Don Berwick stepped down last week. Tavenner served as Principal Deputy Administrator of CMS since February 2010 and as Acting Administrator of CMS from February to July 2010.

Although Tavenner’s nomination has already received favorable words from Democrats and Republicans alike, she must still go through the formal confirmation process. Former Administrator Berwick was nominated as a recess appointment by President Obama, meaning his nomination was never officially approved by the Senate. During her confirmation hearings, Tavenner is likely to face questions about the Administration’s rollout of the Affordable Care Act and her views on such topics as healthcare quality and affordability.

Prior to joining CMS, Tavenner served as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources in the administration of former Governor Tim Kaine. Before entering government service, she spent nearly 35 years working with healthcare providers in significantly increasing levels of responsibility, including almost 20 years in nursing, three years as a hospital CEO, and 10 years in various senior executive level positions for Hospital Corporation of America. She has served as a board member of the American Hospital Association and as president of the Virginia Hospital Association. Tavenner holds a B.S. in nursing and an M.A. in health administration, both from the Virginia Commonwealth University.


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