President Barack Obama intends to nominate Massachusetts pediatrician Donald Berwick, known for his work to improve patient care, to oversee Medicare and Medicaid.
Berwick, a Harvard professor, also leads a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the efficiency of the health care industry.
The timing of the nomination is important because Berwick, if confirmed by the Senate, would take over an agency that has not had a permanent chief executive since Mark McClellan stepped down in the fall of 2006.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services runs the government health care programs for seniors and the poor, providing benefits to an estimated 100 million people — about 1 in 3 Americans.
Both programs will be undergoing significant changes as part of the health care overhaul Obama signed into law last week.
An administration official confirmed Obama's intentions on condition of anonymity because the president has not made his decision public. That announcement is expected soon.
Berwick is the president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a nonprofit organization in Cambridge, Mass. that works to eliminate "needless" problems within health care systems across the globe, such as needless deaths, suffering, waiting for help, or waste. Berwick is also a professor of pediatrics and health care policy at the Harvard Medical School and a professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health.
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