CMS Administrator Tom Scully Resigns

December 5, 2003

CMS Administrator Tom Scully Resigns

CMS Administrator Tom Scully announced on December 3 that he will resign effective December 15, following three years at the helm of the nation’s second and third-largest domestic programs, Medicare and Medicaid.

“It has been a great run, and has been great fun working with, and learning from, Secretary Thompson, who has been a great friend and mentor,” said Scully. “Watching the President and the Secretary drive the Medicare bill across the finish line in the last few weeks was a very rewarding culmination to a very exciting and fulfilling three years. I have loved every minute of this job and am grateful to the President for the opportunity to serve.”

Scully became the ninth administrator of the agency formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration on March 22, 2001. He led an intensive effort to improve the responsiveness of the agency, with a new name, adopted from suggestions made by agency employees. He also significantly expanded efforts to inject quality measurement into the agency’s programs.

“Tom Scully is leaving a different agency from the one he took over in 2001, an agency that has been reenergized by his leadership,” said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. “He also made crucial contributions in the effort to bring about the President’s vision of a modernized Medicare, and he helped ensure that future beneficiaries will be served by a better and stronger program.”

Other highlights of his tenure include:

  • Expanding beneficiary education efforts by making 1-800-MEDICARE a 24/7 service with detailed information for beneficiaries, and raising awareness through large scale advertising.
  • Serving as a key member of the President’s Medicare reform team, who was involved in crafting the President’s Medicare Framework over a year ago, and in working with Members of Congress on a bipartisan basis to bring about the biggest improvement in the program since 1965.
  • Rationalizing the federal relationship with states and reigning in program loopholes that had eroded the federal/state partnership.
  • Strengthening CMS’s fiscal responsibility by closing a multi-billion dollar loophole in Medicare for hospital outlier payments; rationalizing payments for rehabilitation services; and most recently, cracking down on fraudulent billing for power wheelchairs.
  • Opening up the Agency by establishing open door forums and making it clear that Medicare and Medicaid would be reliable business partners for providers and contractors that follow the rules.
  • Creating sweeping quality reform initiatives in both the nursing home and home health sectors in partnership with unions, patient advocacy groups, the AARP and providers to develop broad based quality measures that help consumers and providers monitor and improve performance. These outcomes were published in ads in every major newspaper in the U.S. A similar hospital quality system is under development, and has been incorporated in the new Medicare legislation.

“Much of what Secretary Thompson and I have done is very consistent with the themes of Medicare reform. If you measure performance and give consumers information, it drives positive change. If you give seniors better coverage options, like PPOs, and the information to understand them, they will make the right call. We have taken the first steps to a more consumer-responsive health system,” said Scully

Scully did not immediately identify future plans. An acting administrator will be named prior to Dec. 15.