Senate discusses CMS administrator

Sunday, February 11, 2007

WASHINGTON - The Senate Finance Committee last week "stopped short" of endorsing Leslie Norwalk as CMS's permanent administrator, according to an article in CQ HealthBeat.

Norwalk has been CMS's acting administrator since October. She replaced Mark McClellan, who has since become a visiting senior fellow at a Washington, D.C., think tank.

The Finance Committee is responsible for conducting confirmation hearings on nominations for CMS's administrator.

Prior to being named acting administrator, Norwalk served as deputy administrator.

According to CQ, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Finance Committee, said, "I think they need some fresh blood, frankly. They just need a good person. (They're) drifting because they just don't have it."

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, a ranking member of the committee, said he had not decided whether to support Norwalk as a nominee for CMS administrator, according to CQ.

White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore told CQ that Norwalk "has done a wonderful job as acting CMS administrator."

Reportedly, Norwalk and Herb Kuhn, director of CMS's Center for Medicare Management, are considered to be the two top candidates for CMS administrator.