AAFP Pushes for Confirmation of Tavenner as CMS Administrator

April 08, 2013 02:15 pm News Staff

The AAFP has voiced strong support for President Obama's renomination of Marilyn Tavenner, M.A., as CMS administrator.

In an April 4 letter(2 page PDF) addressed to two top members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, AAFP Board Chair Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I., of Spokane, Wash., noted that Tavenner had been serving as acting administrator of the agency since late 2011.

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"Ms. Tavenner continues to demonstrate strong leadership in shaping policy that will build and sustain the primary care physician workforce," said Stream. He added that her work at CMS likely would improve the quality of care delivered to patients via the U.S. health care system through innovative models, such as the patient-centered medical home.

Stream also praised Tavenner's background and "wealth of experience" in both the public and private health care arenas and commended her on a health care career that has included hands-on patient care, as well as administrative oversight of others delivering such care.

Tavenner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a Master of Arts degree in health administration, both from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.

Prior to her service with CMS, Tavenner was an executive at the Hospital Corporation 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 on the board of directors of the American Hospital Association.

"Her expertise in both state and national health issues and her strong working relationship with the medical community promise continued progress in establishing a health care system that serves patient's needs, improves access to care and addresses costs without threatening quality," said Stream.

He asked Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and ranking committee member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to urge their fellow committee members to support Tavenner's nomination and to "strive for a quick confirmation in the U.S. Senate."

Tavenner has served two stints as CMS acting administrator, first from April 2010 to July 2010 before Donald Berwick, M.D., was appointed CMS head and, again, following the Dec. 2, 2011, resignation of Berwick.

During Berwick's tenure, Tavenner served as second-in-command, with the title of CMS principal deputy administrator.

The AAFP's support for Tavenner has not wavered since an equally strong endorsement in December 2011 after President Obama nominated her the first time for the position.