CMS Appoints New Chief Medical Officer

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a number of new leadership appointments on Tuesday. The agency’s leadership shakeup includes naming a new chief medical officer, a role that had been vacant since Dr. Kate Goodrich joined Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) in March.

Dr. Lee Fleisher will take over as CMS’s CMO moving forward. Fleisher, who currently serves as a practicing anesthesiologist, was also named director of CMS’s Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ).

In addition to being a practicing anesthesiologist, Fleisher serves as a professor of medicine and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He takes over the CCSQ role from Jean Moody-Williams, who will remain a CMS deputy director, according to the agency.

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The CMS leadership appointments come as federal policymakers continue their efforts to gain control of the coronavirus, which continues to spread across the country and the post-acute care landscape. Nursing homes have been hit particularly hard by the virus, with some estimates linking them to more than 40% of all COVID-19 deaths.

“As director of CCSQ, Dr. Fleisher will use his prior experience to provide overall leadership to CCSQ while focusing on CMS’s continued efforts to ensure the safety and security of America’s nursing homes, improving quality and safety in our nation’s health care facilities and reducing burdensome regulations to give providers more time to care for their patients,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.

In addition to Fleisher’s appointment, Dr. Michelle Schreiber was promoted to the deputy director for quality and value at CCSQ, where she will work to move the U.S. health care system away from a fee-for-service mentality, according to Verma. Schreiber joined CMS in 2018.

CMS touted a “renewed national commitment to value-based care” last week.

Karen Tritz, the current director of CCSQ’s Quality Safety and Oversight Group Division of Continuing and Acute Care Providers, was promoted to the role of survey and operations group director. The role was created by a reorganization and expansion of CCSQ that occurred last year.

Tritz has also served as the director of the Division of Nursing Homes in CMS’s Quality and Safety Oversight Group, at least in 2018. In that role, she worked on issues related to surveys and nursing home reporting requirements.

“These CMS staff changes build upon a leadership team at the agency that has made tremendous progress in advancing several quality initiatives, including by eliminating 79 measures across quality payment programs in the hospital setting, in-patient psychiatric facilities, ambulatory surgery, cancer hospitals and hospital outpatient departments through the Meaningful Measures initiative,” Verma said. “This resulted in projected savings of $128 million and an anticipated reduction of 3.3 million burden hours.”

Reports surfaced that Goodrich was leaving for Louisville, Kentucky-based Humana in January.

Her LinkedIn page currently lists her job title as a “trend and analytics” senior vice president.

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