CMS Taps Anthem Vet Smith for Top Innovation, Value-Based Care Posts

The federal government on Monday announced the appointment of Brad Smith, a health care and insurance industry veteran, as the next head of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

Smith, previously the chief operating officer at insurance giant Anthem’s diversified business group, will additionally serve as senior advisor for value-based transformation to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Alex Azar.

“Brad will help HHS and CMS continue and accelerate the value-based transformation work that we have begun under President Trump,” Azar said in a statement announcing the move. “Delivering better value in health care is a key piece of how we’re executing on President Trump’s health care vision.”

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Part of the larger Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), CMMI serves as the federal government’s main incubator for new reimbursement models and regulations, including several initiatives with major implications for skilled nursing facilities — such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) and bundled-payment programs.

Prior to Anthem, Smith was the CEO of Aspire Health, a palliative care company that he co-founded along with former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist; Anthem purchased Aspire for an undisclosed sum in 2018.

Smith will replace Adam Boehler, the previous CMMI chief who last summer was nominated for the top spot at the United States International Development Finance Corporation.

Under the Trump administration and the leadership of administrator Seema Verma, CMS has placed private-sector solutions for Medicare and Medicaid issues at the forefront, with a particular focus on expanding the reach of Medicare Advantage plans for seniors.

Verma pointed to Smith’s business experience in applauding his appointment Monday.

“Brad’s experience thinking outside the box to improve health care as a successful entrepreneur, along with his stellar academic and policy background, have prepared him well to lead CMMI and bring innovative solutions to our healthcare system’s most pressing challenges,” Verma said in the statement.

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