President Bush has nominated General Services Administration's inspector general, Daniel Levinson, as the new HHS inspector general, the White House announced late yesterday. Modern Healthcare reported June 7 that Levinson was the expected choice. If confirmed by the Senate, Levinson will replace Dara Corrigan, who has served as acting chief deputy inspector general since the resignation of her predecessor, Janet Rehnquist, just over a year ago. Levinson, 55, previously served as chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board, a quasi-judicial agency that protects federal employees from partisan political practices and management abuses, and as general counsel to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and deputy counsel to the Office of Personnel Management. A certified fraud examiner, he also served as chief of staff for former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga).
While he has been the watchdog for the General Services Administration for three years and is an experienced inspector general, Levinson has limited healthcare experience. At HHS, he would oversee 1,500 auditors, lawyers and investigators and a budget of $170 million. If confirmed, he would inherit an office that has been plagued by instability. Rehnquist oversaw the firing, retirement or transfer of more than 20 top agency leaders. Corrigan had little experience in political infighting and her departure has been rumored for months. Washington sources predicted the White House would nominate Corrigan's replacement after the inspector general released its investigation of former CMS Administrator Tom Scully. That report, released last week, concluded that Scully threatened CMS' chief actuary with job termination if the actuary released his cost estimates for the Medicare reform bill to Congress, but cleared Scully of any criminal violations. Corrigan recused herself in June from cases involving hospitals, saying she was negotiating for a position with a healthcare system. Neither Corrigan nor Levinson could be reached for comment at deadline. -- by Mark Taylor