Healthcare Business News

HHS seeking CEO, CTO

By Darius Tahir
Posted: June 20, 2014 - 3:15 pm ET

New HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell plans to hire a CEO and chief technology officer for the insurance marketplace, the department announced Friday. Creation of these new positions comes after critics repeatedly decried the lack of clear lines of responsibility for the site's operations.

“Under this new structure, we bring additional operational and technological fire power and have a clear, single point of contact in the marketplace CEO to streamline decisionmaking,” Burwell said in the release.

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The yet-to-be hired CEO will report directly to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and indirectly, with a dotted line in organizational terms, to Burwell herself. The new CTO will report directly to the CEO.

“Secretary Burwell and CMS Administrator Tavenner believe these steps will build on the implementation progress to date,” the release said.

Among many early criticisms of the botched rollout was the lack of clear accountability for getting it up and running. These moves by Burwell seem to address those issues by creating the new senior positions. Indeed, Thursday Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Orrin Hatch of Utah released a report on the rollout that concludes there was nobody in charge of making sure it worked.

In other HHS organizational changes, Andy Slavitt will become principal deputy administrator at the CMS, overseeing day-to-day agency operations. He will coordinate HHS' Medicare, Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program and Marketplace initiatives, while also working to uncover fraud, reform delivery and improve outcomes, the agency said.

Slavitt was previously a group executive vice president for Optum, where, according to the release, he “oversaw the delivery of clinical, technology and operational solutions to healthcare clients and consumers.” Slavitt also led the systems integration work and tech surge to fix the initial bumpy rollout of

The new CEO also will run the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.

The agency also announced that Kurt DelBene, the former Microsoft executive assisting with, will be leaving the agency at the end of the month.

Follow Darius Tahir on Twitter: @dariustahir

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