‘Best choice’ Berwick named head of CMS

We’re pleased to write that today the right person has been appointed head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and will be thrust into the middle of the efforts to reshape health care in the United States.

Pediatrician Donald Berwick, MD, a leading advocate of patient safety and quality improvement in health care, became the head of CMS without a bruising Senate confirmation process through use of a so-called “recess appointment” by President Obama.

As we wrote this past spring when Dr. Berwick was nominated, he’s just the person for the job. Uma Kotagal, MBBS, our senior vice president for Quality and Transformation and Director of Health Policy and Clinical Effectiveness at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center considers Dr. Berwick a friend.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Don over the years as we pursue our common passion of delivering higher quality, safer health care. Berwick, the current head of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, an organization he founded, is a pediatrician who thinks big,” she wrote in May.

“He believes there should be no errors in health care delivery. None. He says there should be no needless deaths, harm, or pain and suffering because we fail to deliver on our promise of taking care of our patients.

We’re with him in those beliefs and we’re working to bring that vision into reality. It will not be easy.”

To see what Dr. Berwick thinks about patient-centered care, you might want to watch this video:
http://www.youtube.com/v/SSauhroFTpk&hl=en_US&fs=1

We are optimistic about the future.  In another blog post, Dr. Kotagal wrote this about the new CMS director:

“Berwick’s new job will put him at ground zero for reforming the health care system. It will extend far beyond Medicare and Medicaid. The health reform bill calls for changing the way we pay for medical services. The hope is to force providers to change their behavior by focusing on real quality with real improved outcomes. The government would save money. Everyone else would, too. The quality of care would actually improve and patients – all of us – would be better off.”

Let’s get to work.

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