AAFP Backs Tavenner as New CMS Administrator

December 06, 2011 03:25 pm News Staff

The AAFP has announced its support for Marilyn Tavenner, M.A., as the new administrator of CMS, noting that the former health system administrator and state director of health programs has worked throughout her career to "ensure that patients have access to high-quality care and that health professionals are paid appropriately."

In a statement from the Academy, AAFP President Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I., of Spokane, Wash., said "(Tavenner) understands the flaws in our current health care system and has helped frame meaningful solutions. Moreover, her experience on both the state and national levels brings a perspective that will help ensure federal health policies meet patients' needs without adversely affecting state programs."

The Obama administration nominated Tavenner to replace former CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, M.D., who resigned on Dec. 2. The administration has named Tavenner acting administrator of CMS pending her confirmation by the Senate.

Tavenner has been the principal deputy administrator at CMS since February 2010. In this role, she served as the second-in-command to Berwick, who was appointed CMS administrator in July 2010 through a recess appointment.

Before joining CMS, Tavenner was an executive with the Hospital Corp. of America, a former secretary of health and human resources for the governor of Virginia and the former president of the Virginia Hospital Association. She also served as a board member of the American Hospital Association. Tavenner has a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a Master of Arts degree in health administration, both from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.

Stream cited Tavenner's experience "in both the private and public health care sectors, in direct patient care and administration of that care, and in health care policymaking that undergirds patient care," as reasons behind the AAFP's support.

"During this time of change, America's health care system needs a steady, respected and pragmatic leader at the helm of CMS, and Marilyn Tavenner's nomination as CMS director fits the bill," said Stream.