CMS appoints ombudsman

Sunday, April 3, 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 the ombudsman, Schreiner is 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," 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:

- Receives and provides assistance on complaints, grievances, and inquiries from people with Medicare about any aspect of the Medicare program;

- Assists beneficiaries in collecting information necessary to file an appeal;

- Helps beneficiaries with enrollment and disenrollment problems

- Assists beneficiaries with premium related issues; and

- Works with the aging and disability communities to identify way to improve the effectiveness of agency programs to ensure the people with Medicare understand and are able to exercise their rights and protections.

Schreiner, currently an independent health care policy consultant, has a broad health care background that includes service to federal and state health agencies and three years as a health insurance specialist in the HIV/AIDS bureau of the Health Resources Services Administration, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. He also worked for 10 years for investment firm T. Rowe Price, working on participant services issues. Schreiner has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Akron and a master of health science in health policy management from Johns Hopkins University.