Tuesday, May 12, 2009

CMS Administrator Search: Glenn Steele Out?

With all of the movement in Washington on the confirmations of HHS Secretary and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Bill Corr, respectively, as well as the confirmation hearing of FDA Commissioner nominee Margaret Hamburg, lost in the shuffle is that the CMS Administrator has yet to be named. 

It looked like that position was close to being filled by Geisinger Health Systems President Glenn Steele. Apparently not.

Steele has dropped out of the running, according to an individual on Capitol Hill familiar with the search. 

On paper, Steele is a perfect candidate. He heads up one of the most innovative health systems in the country and has been called upon many times to advise Congress, publicly and privately. Basically, Geisinger promises better quality for a flat fee and they take on the extra costs if they don't perform a given medical intervention properly the first time around. To read a great summary of Geisinger, click here

Before joining Geisinger in 2001, he was VP of Medical Affairs at University of Chicago (anybody with clout in Washington from Chicago?) and Dean of Biological Sciences at the Pritzker School of Medicine. 

Anyone care to guess where he was prior to Chicago? You guessed it, Harvard. 

During a recent Senate Finance Committee health care roundtable at which he testified, Steele told the Committee a few times that he would prefer to answer certain questions in private, tipping off that he could be under consideration for an administration job. 

Steele is at least the third candidate to drop out of the CMS running; Billings Clinic's Nicholas Wolter and Institute for Health Care Improvement CEO Don Berwick were the other two.  To read our coverage on the search, click here, and here

Because of the nature of previous administration nominations and searches, Steele could still emerge as the choice; however, based on what we've heard, that's not presently the case. 

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