* It's been a time of change at HHS.
Bobby Jindal announced last week that he will step down Feb. 21 as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the department to "consider other opportunities" in his home state of Louisiana. Jindal, the former secretary of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals, joined HHS in the key policymaking job in March 2001. The departure comes amid widespread congressional disagreement with the administration on Medicare, one of the main policies Jindal has been working on.
"When Bobby came on board I gave him a couple of challenges," said HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson. "He was to lead our efforts to develop a strategy to address the issue of the uninsured and he also was charged with helping create a Medicare reform plan that not only addresses the challenges facing the program, but one that Congress could pass. Bobby has met both those challenges and more."
Meanwhile, HHS Inspector General Janet Rehnquist has appointed Larry Goldberg, 52, a 13-year veteran of the office and most recently director of administrative and civil remedies, assistant inspector general for legal affairs. Goldberg fills the post vacated last year by Lewis Morris, who replaced retiring Chief Counsel Mac Thornton, 55, who recently joined the Washington office of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal and will work in its healthcare section.
Rehnquist also announced the departure of her law school classmate and longtime friend Carolyn Lundberg, who had served as a senior counselor to Rehnquist. Lundberg left to pursue elementary-school teaching opportunities. Last year, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) ordered the General Accounting Office to study the performance of the inspector general's office and whether it had been adversely affected by some 20 departures of senior staffers since Rehnquist took office in August 2001.
Also, Thompson has named Carolyn Clancy the permanent director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality after her 10-month stint as acting director, where she won plaudits from providers. Clancy will continue working on healthcare outcomes and quality research, as well as overseeing the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of experts on primary care and prevention issues. Clancy, a physician, is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Finally, Kerry Weems has been named HHS acting assistant secretary for budget, technology and finance and chief financial officer. Weems, 46, replaces Janet Hale, who has taken a finance post at the Department of Homeland Security.