Anthem, Aspire Exec Brad Smith to Lead Medicare’s Innovation Center

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI)’s new director is Brad Smith, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Monday.

Previously, Smith co-founded and worked as the CEO of the home-based palliative care provider Aspire Health before it was sold to national insurance giant Anthem in May 2018. He most recently served as the COO of Anthem’s diversified business group, which Aspire became a part of. 

In addition to directing CMMI, Smith has been tabbed as a senior advisor to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. In his advisory role, Smith will specifically focus on value-based transformation, among other topics.

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U.S. Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander spoke highly of Smith’s background in a statement also released Monday. 

“Brad has exactly the right experience to lead a center charged with coming up with innovative ways to lower health care costs and improve quality,” Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, said. “He has founded a successful health care company and knows how state and federal governments work, having served under Governor Bill Haslam and Senator Bob Corker, and at the White House.”

The CMMI works with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to innovate and develop health care payment and service delivery models that can reduce costs.

The former director of CMMI, Adam Boehler, left the position in July when he was selected to lead the International Development Finance Corp. (DFC). Among his accomplishments, Boehler tried to reduce costs by emphasizing in-home and value-based care.

“Brad is in the business of providing ideas and practical solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems,” Former U.S. Senator Bill Frist told Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) in September. Frist co-founded Aspire Health with Smith in 2011.   

Smith will likely attempt to further innovate in the in-home and value-based care spaces where Boehler left off.

“Brad’s experience thinking outside-the-box to improve health care as a successful entrepreneur, along with his stellar academic and policy background, have prepared him well to lead CMMI and bring innovative solutions to our health care system’s most pressing challenges,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “I am excited that we have selected Brad to join the ranks of CMS and help us build on the important work the Trump Administration has undertaken to transform our healthcare system to deliver better value to patients.”

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