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Medicare chief Jonathan Blum leaving Obama administration

The Obama administration's top Medicare official is stepping down from his post. CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum has been with the agency for more than five years.

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced Blum's resignation, effective May 16, in an e-mail to staff.

“Under Jon's leadership, the Medicare program has served as one of our primary drivers to shift our healthcare system to reward quality, care improvement and value,” Tavenner wrote. “The Medicare team's accomplishments are too many to list, but include developing the ACO regulations, implementing our quality framework for Medicare Advantage plans, implementing our competitive bidding program for durable medical supplies, and developing many of our value-based payment strategies.”In addition. Blum helped oversee the unprecedented release earlier this month of detailed Medicare payment data for 880,000 physicians.

Blum was the Obama administration's first political appointee to the CMS in March 2009. Before that he worked on Medicare issues at the Office of Management and Budget. He also served as a top healthcare staffer for then-Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

Tavenner's e-mail cited unspecified “new opportunities” as the reason for Blum's departure.

Follow Paul Demko on Twitter: @MHpdemko
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