Catholic Health Association praises Berwick recess appointment to Medicare post

.- The Catholic Health Association (CHA) has applauded President Obama’s recess appointment of Harvard pediatrician Dr. Donald Berwick as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Sr. Carol Keehan, D.C., CHA’s president and chief executive officer, said Berwick is needed to work on the health care mandates created by the recent health care legislation. In a Wednesday CHA press release, she reported that CMS has not had a permanent administrator since 2006.

She called Berwick “well qualified” for the position, describing him as “a visionary with great insight and knowledge of the health care delivery system based on his perspectives as a physician and teacher” who has championed high quality health care for decades.

"The task ahead is critically important for patients, their families and communities as CMS and providers collectively tackle the issues of expanding coverage, drafting regulations, developing payment policies and prioritizing patient safety and quality," Sr. Keehan continued.

President Obama circumvented Berwick’s Senate confirmation hearings by making a recess appointment, a move which drew criticism from Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

Other critics of the appointment have objected to Berwick’s comments praising European state health care systems as well as remarks he made on rationing health care.

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