CMS Administrator Tom Scully to step down Dec. 15

Sunday, December 7, 2003

December 8, 2003

WASHINGTON - CMS Administrator Tom Scully announced last week that he will resign from his post effective Dec. 15, following three years at the helm of the nation’s second and third-largest domestic programs, Medicare and Medicaid.

“It has been a great run, and has been great fun working with, and learning from, [HHS Secretary Tommy] Thompson, who has been a great friend and mentor,” said Scully. “Watching the president and the secretary drive the Medicare bill across the finish line in the last few weeks was a very rewarding culmination to a very exciting and fulfilling three years."

During his tenure at the agency formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration, Scully led an intensive effort to improve the responsiveness of the agency, with a new name adopted from suggestions made by agency employees. He also significantly expanded efforts to inject quality measurement into the agency’s programs.

“Tom Scully is leaving a different agency from the one he took over in 2001, an agency that has been re-energized by his leadership,” said Thompson. “He also made crucial contributions in the effort to bring about the president’s vision of a modernized Medicare, and he helped ensure that future beneficiaries will be served by a better and stronger program.”

Scully's administration will perhaps be best remember by the DME industry for the creation of open door forums, allowing for a free flow of ideas and feedback between providers and CMS officials.

"I think Scully brought tremendous energy to the job, and that that energy will be missed," said healthcare attorney Elizabeth Hogue. "Whether you agree with or disagree with him, I think he was very committed to the job and took it very seriously and gave it his all, and it think that is a wonderful thing."

Scully did not immediately identify future plans. An acting administrator will be named prior to Dec. 15.

Secretary Thompson also announced his plans to leave his post at the Department of Health and Human Services following the 2004 election in an interview Monday with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He said he was looking for something new after being involved in government for 38 years.

While efforts to combat HIV/AIDS is the issue Thompson "clearly would like to have define his tenure as health secretary," other goals include creating health clinics in Afghanistan for infants and women; creating more sewer and water services in Alaska; and focusing on disease prevention in the United States.

Thompson first indicated that he would not remain with the Bush administration past the 2004 election in a speech in May before the Wisconsin Republican Party convention.