The CMS has named Dennis Smith acting administrator of the agency following the departure this week of Tom Scully. Smith, 46, currently works as director of CMS' Center for Medicaid and State Operations. Having served on the Senate Finance Committee and more recently as director of the Virginia Medicaid program, Smith has the management skills and healthcare industry knowledge needed for the job, according to lobbyists contacted today. It is unclear if Smith is also being considered as a permanent replacement for Scully, whose last official day at the agency was Monday. Known by many in Washington as a quiet policy guru, Smith is well-liked by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, sources said. At deadline, Scully had not announced his next move, but he told Modern Healthcare recently that he plans to make a decision this week. The White House is responsible for naming Scully's successor. The White House did not return a request for comment before deadline. Several names have been mentioned as possible permanent administrators, including Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs William Winkenwerder and Bobby Jindal, the former assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at HHS who last month lost the race for Louisiana governor. An HHS spokesman declined to answer any questions about who might replace Scully and said no formal deadline has been set to name his successor. -- by Jeff Tieman
'Policy guru' named acting CMS administrator
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