U.S. Comptroller General David Walker has appointed four new members to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the advisory body that provides recommendations to Congress on hospital- and physician-payment issues. The new commissioners, whose terms will expire in 2009, include: Mitra Behroozi, executive director of benefit and pension funds for Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union; Karen Borman, professor of surgery and vice chairwoman for surgical education at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson; Ronald Castellanos, a physician with Southwest Florida Urologic Associates; and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies.
Walker also reappointed Glenn Hackbarth, an independent consultant, and Robert Reischauer, president of the Urban Institute; they will continue in their roles as the commission's chairman and vice chairman, respectively. With these new appointments, there will be 17 members on the advisory panel, a spokesman for Walker said. New members are appointed through an open application process, although candidates often get referrals from Congress and the healthcare industry and many other sources, he said. In evaluating the applications the comptroller general looks for a balance between industry vs. consumer backgrounds, and regional areas, "so there's a diversity of viewpoints going forward." -- by Jennifer Lubell