Tavenner Confirmed as CMS Administrator

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , May 16, 2013

Marilyn Tavenner, a former nurse, hospital executive, and state health official, is the first Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services head to gain congressional approval since 2004. The full Senate confirmed her nomination with a 91-7 vote.


Marilyn Tavenner is no longer the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. On Wednesday the full Senate confirmed Tavenner as the administrator in an overwhelming 91-7 vote. Seven Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), voted against the nomination although no one spoke in opposition.

Tavenner is the first CMS head to gain congressional approval since 2004 when Mark McClellan, nominated by then-president George W. Bush, was confirmed.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the Tavenner nomination to the full Senate. Noting that she served as his secretary of health and human services when he was the governor of Virginia, Kaine asked his fellow senators to support the nomination.

"If you care about patients, then Marilyn is your person. Through all of her work, whether as a nurse or hospital administrator or a regional healthcare executive or cabinet secretary or CMS administrator has never forgotten that it is fundamentally about patients." Kaine added, "she's an expert at finding healthcare cost savings."

Before assuming the role of HHS secretary in Virginia, Tavenner worked for more than two decades as a nurse and as an executive at the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA).

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