FDA chief mentioned as Scully’s replacement at CMS

Sunday, January 25, 2004

January 26, 2004

WASHINGTON - HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson has lobbied for FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan to become the new CMS administrator, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

Former CMS Administrator Tom Scully resigned last month and accepted a position in the Washington, D.C., office of the Atlanta-based law firm Alston & Bird. Dennis Smith, who had served as director of the CMS Center for Medicaid and State Operations, has served as acting CMS administrator since Scully resigned.

Supporters maintain that McClellan, a physician with a doctorate in economics, would "give the White House a much-needed, credible public face"in efforts to publicize the benefits of the new Medicare law. Additionally, McClellan is "respected by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, which could smooth"his confirmation in the Senate, according to the Journal.

It is unclear, however, whether McClellan would want to leave his FDA director position, which he has held since late 2002, the Journal reports.

Other candidates for CMS administrator include William Winkenwerder, a physician and former health insurance executive who administers the Tricare program as assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.