The resignation of CMS Administrator Tom Scully came as no surprise to the industry he has regulated since May 2001. In recent months, Scully openly acknowledged he was pursuing other job opportunities, while making it clear he would remain with the Bush administration to help push Medicare reform into law. With President Bush scheduled to sign the $395 billion Medicare reform bill next week, Scully announced today that he will leave the agency Dec. 15. He has been courted by a handful of law or public equity firms. Speaking to reporters, Scully said, "I don't know what law firm I'm going to and have no idea who I'll be representing." Lobbyists said Scully will be remembered for, among other things, making the CMS more accessible to providers and beneficiaries. Several names have surfaced as possible successors. A decision on an interim director will be made before Dec. 15, Scully said.
In an email to the CMS staff, Scully wrote, "I have loved every minute of this job . . . . We have accomplished great things on many fronts in the last three years, but this massive Medicare bill affords the CMS its greatest opportunity to change the world for the better." During his tenure at the agency, Scully spearheaded efforts to require public reporting of healthcare quality data and to link provider payments with participation in such efforts. He often has been a controversial figure. This year he was the object of a lawsuit filed by the Gallup Organization and took heat for the expense of blimp advertising for Medicare's 1-800 number for beneficiaries. -- by Jeff Tieman