Burwell shakes up HealthCare.gov operations, creates three new positions

McClatchy Washington BureauJune 20, 2014 


Sylvia Mathews Burwell


— - In her first major management shakeup since becoming U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Friday announced the creation of three new administrative positions, including a Marketplace CEO to run HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance exchange used by 36 states.

An HHS press statement said the managerial restructuring “comes in response to lessons learned" from the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, which created a firestorm of controversy for the Obama administration and ultimately led to the resignation of former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

"These actions will bolster our team and further instill ongoing accountability for reaching milestones, measuring results and delivering results for the American people, " Burwell said in a statement. "Under this new structure, we bring additional operational and technological fire power and have a clear single point of contact in the Marketplace CEO to streamline decision-making."

The new Marketplace CEO will handle relationships with state marketplaces and run the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which handles federal regulation of health insurance at HHS.

In addition, Andy Slavitt, the former health systems consultant who helped lead the "tech surge" that fixed HealthCare.gov, will become the new Principal Deputy Administrator at HHS' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

A former executive vice president at Optum, Slavitt will coordinate policy and operational initiatives for Medicare, Medicaid, the Childrens Health Insurance Program and HealthCare.gov. He'll also work to fight health care fraud, restructure health care delivery systems and improve health outcomes for patients.

"Andy's breadth of experience throughout the healthcare sector makes him the right person for this role, and I am excited for our partnership across all of the CMS programs," said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. "He will focus on managing day-to-day operational issues across all of our programs and be a key part of our leadership team."

CMS also searching for a new Marketplace Chief Technology Officer who will report to the new Marketplace CEO.

The move comes as Burwell's senior advisor on HealthCare.gov, Kurt DelBene, prepares to leave the department after helping ensure the website functioned properly during its record-high usage in the closing weeks of the marketplace open enrollment period.

All three new positions will work directly with Secretary Burwell and, along with Tavenner, they'll be be held accountable for policy development and technical operations at HealthCare.gov.

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