The American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals and a host of other provider groups on Monday sent key Senate leaders a letter endorsing the nomination of Donald Berwick to the top post at the CMS.
Berwick "has dedicated his career to improving the quality and safety of our nation's healthcare system, and will bring a wealth of knowledge and practical experience to CMS from his perspective as a physician, teacher and passionate advocate for high-quality care," said the letter, which was sent to Democrats and Republicans on both the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee.
Earlier this month, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) indicated
that a confirmation hearing wasn't likely to begin before Congress' July 4 recess. Berwick's nomination has to first pass through Baucus' committee, where a number of Republicans plan to press the 63-year-old pediatrician on statements he has made that seemingly support rationing healthcare.
But provider groups have long held Berwick, the president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in high regard and consider his background as a practicing physician and quality-of-care advocate ideal for the government job.
Berwick's "experiences from his lifelong quest to find better and safer ways to deliver care will greatly inform and enhance the implementation (of) healthcare reform," the letter states.
The letter was also signed by the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association, the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions, the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems, the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, Premier and VHA.