Norwalk walks: Acting CMS chief leaves job

Sunday, July 22, 2007

WASHINGTON - Acting CMS Administrator Leslie Norwalk, in an e-mail sent on Thursday, told agency employees that she will leave the agency on July 20, CQ HealthBeat reported.

CMS employees "administer some of the most important programs in the world--the number of lives we touch, the importance of the health care services we cover and the amount of taxpayer dollars we spend mean that all the world watches us," Norwalk, who served at the agency for six years, wrote in the e-mail. She added, "People often ask me about my greatest achievement at CMS.
Some will imagine that it's the implementation of the drug benefit, the Medicare quality initiatives or revamping the Medicaid program. But those aren't even close. I'm most proud of the team that will lead CMS through its next phase of growth."

President Bush has nominated Kerry Weems to serve as CMS administrator. Norwalk previously withdrew herself from consideration for the nomination.

Separately, S. Lawrence Kocot, senior adviser to the CMS administrator, on Friday said that he also will leave the agency on July 20 "to pursue some of my professional and personal goals and interests in the private sector." Kocot said that he decided to leave CMS "after much reflection" with his family and that his tenure at the agency "has been the most fascinating and rewarding experiences of my career, and I have loved every minute of it" according to CQ HealthBeat.