CMS appoints first ombudsman

Saturday, April 30, 2005

BALTIMORE -- CMS has hired veteran healthcare specialist Dan Schreiner to be Medicare's first ombudsman, a role created by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.
As ombudsman, Schreiner will be the single point of contact within CMS to oversee all beneficiary concerns. He will focus on appeals, complaints, grievances and requests for assistance.
"Dan Schreiner is uniquely qualified to be the voice of the beneficiary inside Medicare," CMS Chief Mark McClellan said in a prepared statement. "Beneficiaries already can reach Medicare in many ways, but Daniel Schreiner will make sure the concerns of people with Medicare are always heard."
McClellan noted that many components in Medicare already have ways to handle direct communications with beneficiaries, but said the ombudsman would serve as a single beneficiary contact for the entire agency.
The ombudsman's role is to ensure that Medicare effectively:
- Handles complaints, grievances and inquiries;
- Helps beneficiaries file appeals;
- Assists beneficiaries with enrollment and disenrollment problems;
- Assists with premium related issues; and
- Helps to find ways to improve the Medicare program for beneficiaries.
Schreiner's health care background includes service to federal and state health agencies and three years as a health insurance specialist.