Donald Berwick’s Greatest Hits
Given Medicare Administrator Berwick’s resignation today, it’s worth remembering some of the highlights (or lowlights) of Berwick’s tenure. Berwick spent most of his time in a virtual bunker since his controversial recess appointment last July – hiding from reporters’ questions, and going to great lengths to do so.
Recall also that Berwick never responded to substantive document requests related to his nomination either. Berwick promised Sen. Grassley to release financial statements related to his tenure as the head of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, only to renege on this promise once he accepted his recess appointment last year. It remains unclear whether, or what, Berwick was attempting to hide by not disclosing these documents.
Berwick had some “achievements” while at CMS – for instance, a preliminary rule for accountable care organizations so onerous and bureaucratic virtually every health care provider group imaginable promised not to participate. But it’s worth asking: If a Medicare Administrator has to go to such seemingly absurd lengths to avoid scrutiny of his own record, did he EVER belong in that role in the first place? And how does the “most transparent and accountable Administration” justify such conduct?