Meet the acting heads of HHS, CMS, and more

Donald Trump was sworn in as president on Friday and with him came some new, possibly temporary leaders at the top federal health departments.

HHS' acting secretary

Norris Cochran will serve as acting HHS secretary while the Senate considers Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump's nominee for the post. Cochran also currently serves as HHS' deputy assistant secretary for budget.

Cochran worked at both CDC and the Office of Management and Budget before joining HHS in 2006. The Senate Finance Committee, which will vote on Price's confirmation, has scheduled a hearing for his nomination for Tuesday.

CDC's acting director

Anne Schuchat on Friday became CDC's acting director, following former CDC Director Tom Frieden's resignation, which was effective Friday at noon. Schuchat will hold the position until Trump's HHS secretary makes a permanent appointment.

Schuchat has worked at CDC since 1988 and has served as CDC's principal deputy director since September 2015. She has served as an epidemic intelligence service officer, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and chief health officer for CDC's response to the H1N1 pandemic. Schuchat also served on CDC's emergency response team during the 2001 anthrax attacks and led the CDC team that responded to the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in Beijing in 2003.

Schuchat also is a Rear Admiral in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Services.

CMS' acting administrator

Patrick Conway on Friday became CMS' acting administrator, following former acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt's resignation, which was effective Friday.

Conway previously served as CMS' Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and CMO. Conway in his previous positions oversaw CMS' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality.

The Trump era begins: What may change for hospitals—and what will stay the same

Trump has nominated Seema Verma, a health care consultant, to serve as CMS administrator.

Trumps asks NIH director to remain in post

NIH announced Thursday that NIH Director Francis Collins at Trump's request will remain in the role under his administration, the Washington Post's "To Your Health" reports.

Obama appointed Collins to the position in 2009. Collins had submitted a letter of resignation and was prepared to step down on Friday. However, NIH said Collins "has been held over by the Trump administration."

According to Politico Pro, it is unclear how long Collins will remain in the role. Both Trump's transition team and Collins have expressed a desire for Collins to keep his post, and several Republican lawmakers also have urged Trump to keep Collins in the role, Politico Pro reports.

FDA commissioner steps down

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf resigned effective Friday.

Califf became FDA commissioner in February 2016.

FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Stephen Ostroff likely will serve as acting commissioner until Trump appoints a permanent replacement for Califf, Medscape reports. Ostroff has served as acting commissioner in the past.

(Nather, "Vitals," Axios, 1/20; Ross Johnson, Modern Healthcare, 1/19; Goodman, Medscape, 1/18; Punke, Becker's Hospital Review, 1/19; Food Safety News, 1/23; HealthIT Analytics, 1/23; Mongan, McKnight's Long Term Care News, 1/20; Diamond, Politico Pro, 1/20 [subscription required]; Scott, STAT News, 1/19; Zimmerman, Becker's Infection Control & Clinical Quality, 1/20; Ault, Medscape, 1/19; Bernstein, "To Your Health," Washington Post, 1/19; Cochran bio HHS.gov, accessed 1/23; Browne/Payson-Denney, CNN, 1/19).

5 must-have upgrades for the consumer-focused health system (with or without the ACA)

5 must-have upgrades for the consumer-focused health system

Failure to prepare for today's consumer-driven reality is a risky strategy in any market. Increased out-of-pocket costs, the improvement of price transparency tools, the emergence of meaningful alternatives to traditional care sites, and the weakening of the traditional patient-physician relationship have accelerated the growth of a consumer market.

Health systems that do not build real consumer loyalty are in danger of losing substantial share to new competitors. If they hope to grow, organizations must build long-term durable relationships with their customers. Check out this infographic to see five upgrades health systems should make to succeed in this new era of health care.

Download the infographic


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