Secretary Burwell announces steps to bolster management and accountability

June 23, 2014

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced a series of management changes designed to strengthen the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  This new management structure comes in response to lessons learned from the rollout of and recommendations put forth to the Secretary.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will have a new operations-focused Principal Deputy Administrator for agency-wide policy and operational program coordination.  CMS will also have a single Marketplace Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  In addition to the Marketplace CEO, CMS is announcing and actively recruiting a Marketplace Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

“These actions will bolster our team and further instill ongoing accountability for reaching milestones, measuring results and delivering results for the American people,” said Secretary Burwell.  “Under this new structure, we bring additional operational and technological fire power and have a clear single point of contact in the Marketplace CEO to streamline decision-making.”

Andy Slavitt will join the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as the agency’s Principal Deputy Administrator, bringing a wealth of private sector experience to oversee day-to-day agency program operations.  As Principal Deputy Administrator, Slavitt will be responsible for cross cutting policy and operational coordination for the agency’s Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and Marketplace initiatives; combatting health care fraud; reforming health care delivery; and improving health outcomes.

Slavitt joins CMS after spending more than 20 years in the private sector.  Most recently he served as Group Executive Vice President for Optum where he oversaw the delivery of clinical, technology and operational solutions to health care clients and consumers.  Slavitt was the top day-to-day executive leading the systems integration work and tech surge to fix 

“Andy’s breadth of experience throughout the healthcare sector makes him the right person for this role, and I am excited for our partnership across all of the CMS programs.  He will focus on managing day-to-day operational issues across all of our programs and be a key part of our leadership team,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

CMS is also recruiting two leaders to fill key roles:

  1. A new, permanent Marketplace CEO, who will be the Chief Executive with responsibility and accountability for leading the federal marketplace, managing relationships with state marketplaces, and running the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), which regulates health insurance at the federal level.  The Marketplace CEO will report to the CMS Administrator with a dotted line to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. 
  2. A new, permanent Marketplace CTO who will report to the new Marketplace CEO and work closely with the Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Office of Information Services within CMS in order to ensure proper alignment of project milestones and deliverables.

These individuals, who will also work directly with Secretary Burwell, and Administrator Tavenner will be accountable for policy development and technical operations of the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, working closely with a variety of stakeholders and states on ongoing implementation efforts.

Secretary Burwell and CMS Administrator Tavenner believe these steps will build on the implementation progress to date and best position CMS and HHS to carry out their mission of providing access to quality, affordable health coverage for millions of Americans in the months and years ahead.

These CMS personnel actions come at the same time as Kurt DelBene, who is the Secretary’s Senior Advisor on, transitions away from day-to-day management of the technical work with a strong CMS team in place.  DelBene’s leadership played a pivotal role in making sure’s site performance supported the record-high consumer demand experienced through the close of the 2014 open enrollment period.  His work was instrumental in instituting a disciplined approach to ongoing software development and conducting a thorough prioritization of work needed for the future.  Designed as a temporary assignment since he began, DelBene will leave HHS at the end of the month as planned.  In the remaining weeks, he will assist the Secretary as part of the leadership transition.

“I am grateful for Kurt’s expertise and commitment to our work.  His efforts helped enable millions of Americans to successfully access quality, affordable health care coverage in this historic time period and put us on a path for continued success,” said Secretary Burwell. 

Added CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner: “Secretary Burwell and I are excited to welcome Andy to our team and work in partnership to improve access to health care and improve the quality of care for so many Americans.  He brings a wealth of experience to strengthen our team and is ready to hit the ground running.  We are also deeply grateful for Dr. Mandy Cohen’s continued leadership as our Acting Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight as we recruit permanent leadership moving forward.” 

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