The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) officially has a new director—Adam Boehler, the former CEO of home-based care startup Landmark Health.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma told staff in an email that Boehler will start as the director of the office next week, according to a report in The Hill. Another report in Health Exec noted that “Boehler’s selection has been rumored for months.” In fact, Politico reported in December that Boehler would be the new CMMI head, but that it would take some time before it became official due to some potential conflicts.
Further regarding CMMI, Politico reported last month that “There’s been a recent exodus of top officials at the CMS Innovation Center, and the installation of a new leader at the office has been on hold because of financial conflicts. The Obamacare-created office, which many Republicans have viewed with suspicion, has so far received minimal attention from administration leaders.”
The Health Exec report noted that Boehler “doesn’t bring any government experience, with his resume mostly centered on venture capital and startups. Before founding Landmark Health, he was running another healthcare startup, lab management company Accumen. Other past roles include executive vice president and general manager at analytics provider MedeFinance and a principal healthcare investor at Accretive.”
According to the Health Exec report, Verma told her staff on Friday, “Adam is widely regarded as an innovative leader in the private sector and in him we are lucky to have someone who has designed and implemented new, patient-focused approaches to healthcare delivery.”
Created under the Obama administration, CMMI is charged with piloting, testing and evaluating alternative payment models—such as bundled payment models, for example—with the intent of increasing quality and efficiency, while reducing program expenditures under Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Last September, Verma wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal where she said that the Trump administration would lead CMMI “in a new direction” to give providers more flexibility with new payment models and to increase healthcare competition. Verma said at the time that CMS was analyzing all Innovation Center models “to determine what is working and should continue, and what isn’t and shouldn’t.” The agency also issued an RFI for ideas on how to determine the best path forward for CMMI, to which various healthcare associations responded with comments and suggestions.
Verma has previously voiced skepticism about some CMMI initiatives, including mandatory bundled payment programs. However, new HHS (Department of Health & Human Services) Secretary Alex Azar recently said during a Senate Finance Committee, when asked about mandatory pilots, that he believes the industry needs “to be able to test hypotheses. And if we need to test a hypothesis, I want to be a reliable partner, I want to be collaborative in doing this, I want to be transparent and follow appropriate procedures, but, if to test a hypothesis there around changing our healthcare system, if it needs to be mandatory as opposed to voluntary to get adequate data, then so be it,” Azar said.
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