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Science & Tech

Media reporting HSPH professor to be named head of federal Medicare, Medicaid programs

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Donald M. Berwick, “an inconoclastic scholar of health policy,” Obama’s choice reports New York Times

Major media outlets are this weekend reporting that President Barack Obama has selected Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) professor Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP,  to head the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The reports have not been confirmed by either the White House or Dr. Berwick.

Were he to be named Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Donald Berwick, would oversee much of the implementation of historic and highly controversial health care reform act just passed and signed into law by Obama.

In addition to his Harvard appointments, Dr. Berwick is President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a Cambridge-based organization dedicated to improving patient care and the functioning of the American health care system.

Here is the New York Times report of the expected appointment.

Dr. Berwick, who trained as a pediatrician, is a professor of health policy and management in the department of health policy and management at HSPH, is also a clinical professor of pediatrics and health care policy at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and is an associate in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston.

The author of more than 130 journal articles on health care policy, quality improvement, technology assessment, and related subjects He was the first “Independent Member” of the American Hospital Association’s Board of Trustees, and from 1999 to 2001 served as chair of the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Dr. Berwick was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry in 1997 and 1998. Co-chaired by the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Labor, the Commission was charged with developing a broader understanding of the issues facing rapidly evolving healthcare delivery systems and to help build consensus on ways to assure and improve the quality of health care.

A summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, Dr. Berwick is also a cum laude graduate of HMS, and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, from which he earned a master’s degree in public policy.