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Karen DeSalvo Joins MedPAC as New Member

May 30, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Five new members have been added to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), including former National Coordinator for Health IT, Karen DeSalvo, M.D., the Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced.

DeSalvo, who is now a professor of medicine and population health at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, will be joined by four other new appointed members, including Jonathan Jaffery, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, Wisc.; Jonathan Perlin, M.D., Ph.D., president of clinical services and chief medical officer of HCA in Nashville; and Jaewon Ryu, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer for Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa. Their terms will expire in April 2021. The reappointed member, whose term will also expire in April 2021, is Susan Thompson, R.N., senior vice president of integration and optimization with UnityPoint Health in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Prior to taking the position at Dell Medical School, DeSalvo was dually appointed as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and the National Coordinator for Health IT at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Congress established MedPAC in 1997 to analyze access to care, cost and quality of care, and other key issues affecting Medicare. MedPAC advises Congress on payments to providers in Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service programs and to health plans participating in the Medicare Advantage program. The Comptroller General, Gene L. Dodaro, who delivered the announcement on the new appointees, is responsible for naming new commission members.

“MedPAC provides valuable insight and advice to Congress on myriad Medicare issues,” Dodaro said in a statement.  “I was heartened by the number of highly-qualified applicants who expressed interest in joining the Commission, and am pleased to announce these latest appointments.”

In health IT circles, MedPAC has been at the forefront of the news cycle lately, as back in January, it passed a vote that recommended scrapping MIPS (the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, one of the two payment tracks under MACRA’s Quality Payment Program) and replacing it with a new clinician value-based purchasing program, called the Voluntary Value Program (VVP). The proposal was included in the advisory group's more recent report to Congress as well.

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