CMS’ Tavenner to step down
Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is stepping down from her position at the end of February.
Tavenner, who led CMS’ botched rollout of Healthcare.gov in 2013, informed employees Friday morning of her departure in an email.
“It is with sadness and mixed emotions that I write to tell you that February will be my last month serving as the Administrator for CMS,” she wrote. “I have great pride and joy knowing all that we have accomplished together since I came on board five years ago in February of 2010.”
In another email, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell confirmed Tavenner’s resignation, noting that Principal Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt will take over as acting administrator.
Despite a somewhat tarnished legacy, due to the Healthcare.gov rollout and an ensuing scandal in which her transparency was questioned, Tavenner will be remembered as a leader who pushed forward, “no matter how severe the storms we faced,” Burwell said.
“It goes without saying that Marilyn will be remembered for her leadership in opening the Health Insurance Marketplace,” the secretary said. “In so doing, she worked day and night so that millions of Americans could finally obtain the security and peace of mind of quality health insurance at a price they could afford. It’s a measure of her tenacity and dedication that after the tough initial rollout of HealthCare.gov, she helped right the ship, bringing aboard a systems integrator and overseeing an overhaul of the website.”
For a resignation email, Tavenner’s was quite long. In it, she retraced the progress she made during her tenure and pointed to issues that CMS will continue to focus on after she leaves, like improving quality care, using data and lowering health costs.
IT was part of her focus. “Information Technology is so essential to all functions of CMS and we have done tremendous work to implement complex new systems like the Marketplace functionality as well as the collection and management of a wide array of Marketplace data,” she wrote. “With all the highly sensitive information CMS maintains, we’ve also put upgrades in place to increase secure communications and we’ve been able to reduce our IT costs in several key areas as well.”
Tavenner also announced CMS Chief of Staff Aryana Khalid will leave in March.
“I speak for both of us when I say our roles in this agency have been both the most challenging and rewarding positions we’ve ever had in our careers,” she said. “We are grateful to everyone at CMS for giving us such an amazing experience we will always be proud of and hold dear to our hearts.”