Berwick's recess appointment expires at the end of this year and it remains unclear whether President Barack Obama has the legal authority to give him another recess appointment. The legal uncertainty stems from a statutory salary ban for repeat recess appointees and a separate federal ban on unpaid work for federal agencies.
So, what does Berwick think about the situation and has the continuing uncertainty impacted his ability to perform his high-profile job?
“The real answer right now is it is an amazing job. Every day is exciting and I am committed to getting the work done day after day, and getting to work with colleagues like Rick (Gilfillan, acting Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation) and the rest of the team is an absolute thrill,” Berwick said when I asked him those questions today.
So has he received some guidance from the White House or from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on his future at CMS?
“That's a question for the White House,” interjected Brian Cook, a CMS media officer listening in on the interview.
So what does the White House have to say about either plans for Berwick or legal questions surrounding repeat recess appointments?
Here is what the White House has to say about plans for Berwick or legal questions surrounding repeat recess appointments:
“We believe Don Berwick is the best person for the job and look forward to the Senate confirming this nomination,” said an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The president has tremendous confidence in Dr. Berwick and he's already doing stellar work at CMS: saving taxpayer dollars by cracking down on fraud, and implementing delivery system reforms that will save billions of dollars and millions of lives.”
So it looks like the rumors and speculation about the future of leadership of the CMS won't end anytime soon.
You can follow Rich Daly on Twitter @mhrdaly.