CMS moves into the future, and looks back

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Andy Slavitt

Andy Slavitt

As we cover leadership changes at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), it is worth reflecting on the advancements at the federal agency in recent years – especially its increased focus on health information technology.

The CMS oversees the Medicare and Medicaid programs, but its duties expanded over the past decade to include greater access to health information online, and to spurring technology innovation in the health sector.

Technology was a focus of outgoing Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt’s prepared final remarks to the CMS staff, delivered Thursday morning.

Slavitt highlighted many of the agency’s health IT accomplishments since he became acting administrator in March 2015. These included the medical code changeover to ICD-10; early stages of MACRA rollout; online insurance marketplace enrollments; data transparency; and cybersecurity.

Slavitt told the CMS staff: “And what makes me very proud is how you have innovated. Innovation to make sure people are treated with dignity using cool technology. Whether it’s Blue Button, MAGI in the cloud, automated Medicaid enrollment,, Fraud prevention 2.0, or Compare(.gov) site, CMS is a modern tech-enabled customer service organization that delivers the goods.”

Health IT priorities are sure to change in the new administration. Journalists can refer to the programs and topics above to track progress in this area.

If you follow Slavitt on Twitter, then you know that he has become one of the most vocal defenders of the Affordable Care Act. For more on that, check out Rachel Bluth’s terrific piece in Stat on Slavitt’s use of the social media platform to advocate for President Obama’s health care legacy.


Andy Slavitt’s AHCJ webcast

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