Thompson Names Dennis Smith Acting Administrator of CMS

December 19, 2003

Thompson Names Dennis Smith Acting Administrator of CMS

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today named Dennis G. Smith as interim head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). He becomes Acting Administrator following the resignation of CMS Administrator Tom Scully, effective Tuesday. Smith is Director of CMS' Center for Medicaid and State Operations.

At the same time, Secretary Thompson said Leslie V. Norwalk will remain in her position as Deputy Administrator and Chief Operating Officer at CMS. Norwalk will continue to be the CMS lead in carrying out the Medicare legislation signed into law by the President last week.

"HHS' largest operating division will be in good hands with Dennis Smith as interim chief of the agency until a new Administrator is nominated and sworn in," Secretary Thompson said. "At the same time, it is very important that Leslie Norwalk should carry on in the Deputy Administrator and COO position. We will rely on her leadership to direct the very complex and demanding task of implementing the hundreds of changes to be made under the Medicare improvement act."

With an estimated FY 2004 budget of almost a half trillion dollars ($495 billion in budget authority), CMS' Medicare and Medicaid are the second and third largest federal programs, behind the Social Security Administration in total budget.

Medicare pays about 1 billion claims per year on behalf of some 40 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries. The joint federal-state Medicaid program provides medical services for some 40 million low income Americans, including skilled nursing care. CMS also administers the State Child Health Insurance Program, providing health coverage for more than 5 million low-income children not covered by Medicaid.