OCTOBER 01, 2006

As of October 15, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a new leader. Leslie Norwalk, Esq, former deputy administrator for CMS, has been appointed acting administrator for the agency. Herb Kuhn, who was a possible contender for the post, will serve as deputy administrator.

Former CMS Administrator Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, resigned from the position last month after serving 2½ years. His tenure will be remembered by many in the industry for overseeing the complex implementation of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit—a task that consumed much of his time with CMS. Dr. McClellan's departure comes in the middle of midterm election campaigns, during which the handling of the new Medicare drug benefit has become a major issue.

In addition, his resignation comes during contract negotiations between Medicare and health insurance companies that want to offer the drug benefit next year.