Robert Pear at the New York Times reported this weekend that President Obama was set to nominate DonM. Berwick as the new head of the the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Don Berwick is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston.
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement is certainly one of the nation's leading, if not the leading, authority for the improvement of health care quality in the United States. For years, Dr. Berwick has been a leading voice in the ways that healthcare in this country should become patient-centric, and not system-centric. He has been a tireless advocate that not only the delivery of healthcare in this country should be changed, but has worked to demonstrate that it can be changed and that such changes elevate patient outcomes while reducing costs.
His appointment is clear signal from the Obama Administration that there is a phase 2 to healthcare reform that is more than what can be accomplished through legislation. Dr. Berwick has experience in working with institutions to tear down their long-entrenched business systems and rebuild them to improve quality and lower costs. Dr. Berwick has made incredibly strides at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and has been able to change many institutions and individuals – with the pulpit offered of CMS he will have the true opportunity to re-shape the nation's healthcare delivery system in a sense that is as historic as the healthcare reform legislation itself. Dr. Berwick's appointment is the perfect choice to make the ideal a reality. His installment into that role should be as soon as possible.