AAFP Urges Rapid Approval of Berwick Renomination

February 08, 2011 03:00 pm News Staff

The AAFP is urging the Senate Finance Committee to approve the renomination of Donald Berwick, M.D., as CMS administrator, saying in a letter(2 page PDF) to committee leaders that Berwick "has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to building a patient-centered, quality-focused and efficient health care system."

President Obama formally nominated Berwick for the position of CMS administrator last year, but then installed him via a recess appointment when the Senate delayed confirming the nomination. The result is that although Berwick has only been CMS administrator since July, his term is set to expire at the end of the year. Obama has renominated him for the post.

"In his time so far as CMS administrator, Dr. Berwick has demonstrated great support for strengthening primary care in Medicare and Medicaid," said AAFP Board Chair Lori Heim, M.D., of Vass, N.C., in a Feb. 7 letter to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chair of the finance committee, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the ranking member of the committee. "Based on his extensive health policy expertise, he has helped ensure that Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program have become more aware of the value of primary care physicians in controlling health care costs and improving patients' health."

In working with Berwick during his time as administrator of CMS, "our members have been impressed that he is sincere and consistent in his belief that the people of this nation can and should have health care that meets their needs, that strengthens the health and the productivity of the American workforce, and that is affordable for all," said Heim.