BREAKING: Burwell Confirmed as HHS Secretary | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

BREAKING: Burwell Confirmed as HHS Secretary

June 5, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints
Click To View Gallery

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, has been confirmed as the top health official in the country by the Senate.

Burwell was confirmed as the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) by the Senate with a vote of 78-17. She succeeds Kathleen Sebelius, who was on President Barack Obama’s cabinet since his first year in office and resigned in April of this year.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 67-28 on a procedural move to advance the vote on her nomination, which could have been held up due to a filibuster. Even though every vote against her was from a Republican, Burwell received bipartisan support throughout the nomination process due to her work at the Office of Management and Budget.

In comments leading up to the confirmation vote, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) expressed his support for Burwell. He said while he had some concerns with the way HHS has been running since Obama had come into office, he said Burwell promised him more transparency as head of the agency.

“We need a strong leader with bipartisan support,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said of Burwell. “I’ve gotten to know Sylvia Matthews Burwell well. She is the right choice for the right time. I strongly urge my colleague on both sides in supporting her nomination.”

It wasn’t all positive though. Some Senators, such as Mitch McConnell (R-KY), voted against her for embracing President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) policy.

Burwell, who is a Rhodes Scholar, got her career in politics started with President Bill Clinton. She worked on his campaign, was a part of his economic transition team, worked on the staff of Robert Rubin, former Secretary of the Treasury, and later served as a Deputy Chief of Staff. After President Clinton left office, she went to the nonprofit world to work for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walmart Foundation. In 2013, she was confirmed to head the Office of Management and Budget by a vote of 96-0.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



MGMA: Physician Compensation Data Illustrates Nationwide PCP Shortage

Primary care physicians’ compensation rose by more than 10 percent over the past five years, representing an increase which is nearly double that of specialty physicians’ compensation over the same period, according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

Circulation, Buoy Health Collaborate on Integrated Platform for Patient Transportation

Boston-based startup Circulation Health, a ride-ordering exchange that coordinates medical transportation logistics using Lyft and other transportation partners, is partnering with Buoy Health, also based in Boston, to integrate their platforms to provide patients with an end-to-end healthcare experience.

HITRUST Provides NIST Cybersecurity Framework Certification

The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST), security and privacy standards development and accreditation organization, announced this week a certification program for the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (Framework).

Report: Interoperability in NHS England Faces Similar Barriers as U.S. Healthcare

Electronic patient record interoperability in NHS England is benefiting patient care, but interoperability efforts are facing barriers, including limited data sharing and cumbersome processes falling outside of the clinician workflow, according to a KLAS Research report.

Geisinger National Precision Health Hires Illumina Exec to Lead Business Development

Integrated health system Geisinger has hired a high-profile genetic counselor to head up business development for Geisinger National Precision Health, which was created to extend the Geisinger model on the national scene.

$30M VC Fund Launched to Spur Innovation in Cardiovascular Care

The American Heart Association, together with Philips and UPMC, has announced the launch of Cardeation Capital, a $30 million collaborative venture capital fund designed to spur healthcare innovation in heart disease and stroke care.