Dan Schreiner says he believes his business experience was key to being selected as the CMS' first ombudsman.
"I worked in customer service for T. Rowe Price and one of my main jobs was mak ing investments understandable to customers," said Schreiner, who starts at the CMS on April 4. "I think a big part of this position will be doing the same kind of thing. My business background was very important to them, but I think my experience working with consumer groups and my experience working on Capitol Hill was valuable, too."
The ombudsman will be the primary contact for beneficiaries within the CMS, overseeing appeals, complaints, grievances and requests for assistance.
Schreiner describes the position, created by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, as "really very broad, a mix of internal and external duties." He will work with both consumers and healthcare providers on ways to improve access to Medicare.
"As the new drug benefit (Medicare Part D) comes into effect, my job will become even more focused on the needs of beneficiaries," Schreiner said. His healthcare experience includes three years working as a health insurance specialist in the HIV/AIDS bureau of HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration. Recently he's been an independent healthcare policy consultant, a position that has included helping states make cost-efficient drug purchases. He has a master's degree in health policy management from Johns Hopkins University.
"Dan Schreiner is uniquely qualified to be the voice of the beneficiary inside Medicare," said CMS Administrator Mark McClellan.
Schreiner, 41, said he was interested in the job when he first heard about it. "The moment the act was signed, I knew that this was an area I was interested in," he said. "I began asking around about the ombudsman role and I applied through the proper channels."