Responding to a report that federal health officials met in private with Wall Street investors, AHCJ leadership sent a letter to the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services objecting to the selective release of information to stakeholder groups.
The Project on Government Oversight reported earlier this month that a dozen senior staff at CMS met with five Wall Street professionals for nearly two hours in 2009 and that a senior CMS analyst filed an ethics complaint about it.
AHCJ’s letter, signed by president Charles Ornstein, states, “We feel strongly that journalists should receive information from CMS no later than other groups. If guidance or previews are provided to special interest groups, it also should be provided to journalists, who inform the public.”
The letter to acting CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner was sent on Dec. 15.
AHCJ does not seek to prevent CMS from meeting with members of the public including stakeholders. Nor is the group asking for journalists to receive confidential information from the agency about pending decisions.
“But we don’t think the public should be the last to know about CMS actions. Journalists should be in the loop when information is released,” the letter said.