Trump Picks Alex Azar for HHS Secretary

Alex Azar, a former executive with Eli Lilly, was nominated by President Donald Trump as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Azar served as general counsel for HHS and as deputy HHS Secretary under President George W. Bush.

The announcement came in the form of a tweet from Trump Monday morning.

ElevatingHome was among the provider groups that made note of the nomination.

“ElevatingHome looks forward to working with Mr. Azar and sharing with him the many ways that home-based care is a vital patient-preferred, lower cost component of high-quality health care delivery models,” the group said in an emailed statement.

The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), the largest skilled nursing provider in the nation, is also seeking opportunities to work with the potential new Secretary.

“We look forward to working with him upon his confirmation to provide solutions to delivering quality care for the over one millions seniors and individuals with disabilities we serve,” AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson told HHCN in an emailed statement.

Katie Smith Sloan, CEO of LeadingAge, a group for stakeholders in the aging industry, echoed this sentiment.

“LeadingAge looks forward to ongoing collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services – including a new secretary – as we work, on behalf of our 6000+ members and partners, to ensure the overall health and wellbeing of older adults across the country,” she said in an emailed statement to Home Health Care News.

If confirmed, Azar would replace Tom Price, who resigned in September during an investigation into his use of private jets.

Prior to his downfall, Price was once touted by the home health care industry as a strong advocate for in-home care.

Azar worked for Eli Lilly from 2007 to 2017, serving as president of the company’s U.S. division from 2011 to January of this year. He has been critical of the Affordable Care Act and has supported converting Medicaid into block grants.

Azar has long been focused on controlling costs in health care, Mary Grealy, the head of the Health Care Leadership Council, told USA Today. The council represents large health care companies.

Grealy cited initiatives Azar undertook with insurance companies while at Lilly to shift to reimburse drug firms based on the quality of their products.

Written by Maggie Flynn

Maggie Flynn
Business reporter
When she's not working, Maggie enjoys running, reading, writing and sports, in no particular order. Favorite things include murder mysteries, Lake Michigan and the Pittsburgh Penguins.