With Spotlight on Nursing Homes, CMS Announces New Chief Medical Officer, Promotions

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced several new appointments on Tuesday, including a new chief medical officer who will help with the agency’s efforts on nursing home safety and security. The appointment comes four months after the last person to hold the role departed the agency.

Dr. Lee Fleisher, who currently serves as a practicing anesthesiologist, was named CMS’ new chief medical officer and director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ). Fleisher also serves as a professor of medicine and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

He succeeds Jean Moody-Williams, who will continue in her role as a CMS deputy director, according to the announcement from CMS administrator Seema Verma.

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Dr. Kate Goodrich, who served as CMO at the agency until earlier this year, left CMS in February to take on a new role with the insurance giant Humana (NYSE: HUM).

“As Director of CCSQ, Dr. Fleisher will use his prior experience to provide overall leadership to CCSQ while focusing on CMS’s continued efforts to ensure the safety and security of America’s nursing homes, improving quality and safety in our nation’s healthcare facilities, and reducing burdensome regulations to give providers more time to care for their patients,” Verma wrote in the announcement.

In addition to Fleisher’s appointment, Dr. Michelle Schreiber was promoted to the deputy director for quality and value at CCSQ, where she will work to move the health care system to one focused on paying for results and outcomes over service and procedure volume, according to Verma. Schreiber joined CMS in 2018.

Karen Tritz, the current director of the CCSQ’s Quality Safety and Oversight Group Division of Continuing and Acute Care Providers, was promoted to the role of survey and operations group director, a role created by a reorganization and expansion of the CCSQ that occurred last year.

Tritz has also served as the director of the Division of Nursing Homes in CMS’ Quality and Safety Oversight Group, at least in 2018; in that role, she worked on issues related to surveys and nursing home reporting requirements.

“These CMS staff changes build upon a leadership team at the agency that has made tremendous progress in advancing several quality initiatives, including by eliminating 79 measures across quality payment programs in the hospital setting, inpatient psychiatric facilities, ambulatory surgery, cancer hospitals, and hospital outpatient departments through the Meaningful Measures initiative,” Verma wrote. “This resulted in projected savings of $128 million and an anticipated reduction of 3.3 million burden hours.”

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