Updated on: March 17, 2016

CMS Chief Marilyn Tavenner Stepping Down

Original story posted on: January 16, 2015

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Chief Marilyn Tavenner is stepping down, according to news reports. Tavenner made the announcement to in a letter to colleagues today, but said she will remain at her post until February.

On her watch, the at-times embattled administrator dealt with ICD-10 being delayed on two occasions – one of which she precipitated by suggesting that CMS would be amenable to reexamining the timeframe for implementation.


The most recent delay came on April 1, 2014, when the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 4302 to extend the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) while at the same time delaying the implementation of ICD-10 for at least one year. The vote was 64-35, as reported by ICD10monitor.

The provision for extending the ICD-10 delay was tucked into the earlier House bill as a temporary measure the industry has come to call the “doc fix.” By voting for it, Congress was able to sidestep for the 17th time the repeal of the contentious SGR formula that was incorporated into the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.

The first ICD-10 delay on Tavenner’s watch came on Feb. 14, 2012, when the then-acting administrator told members of the American Medical Association’s Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. that CMS would “reexamine the timeframe.” The next day, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it would initiate the rulemaking process to postpone the date for implementation of the new code set. Then-acting HHS Secretary Kathleen G. Sebelius in a news release issued that day said the agency had heard from “many in the provider community who have concerns about the administrative burdens they face in the years ahead.”

President Barack Obama had nominated Tavenner, a former HCA executive, to be the administrator replacing Donald M. Berwick, MD, who was recess-appointed in July 2010 by President Obama. Berwick resigned in December 2011, before his term expired, under withering criticism from Republican lawmakers.

At the time of her appointment, Tavenner’s nomination was greeted by cheers from the AMA, according to news reports that also noted that Tavenner’s former employer had lobbied Congress to repeal parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 – a subject of advocacy by the AMA.


Chuck Buck

Chuck Buck is the publisher of ICD10monitor and is the executive producer and program host of Talk Ten Tuesdays.

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