US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Hatch, Enzi, Coburn Question Role of New CMS Innovation Center

In Letters to HHS Secretary Sebelius, GAO, Three Senate Finance Committee Members Cite Concerns Over Potential Duplicative Program and its Financial Threat to Medicare & Medicaid

Thursday, November 10, 2011Joe Brenckle 202-224-2465

WASHINGTON – Three members of the Senate Finance Committee are concerned that the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) within the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will place unnecessary financial strains on the nation’s health care entitlement programs, further threatening their future solvency.

Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) along with U.S. Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) today wrote two separate letters to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calling for a full examination of the activities being undertaken by CMMI and its fiscal impact on the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

“We are concerned that at a time of significant uncertainty for the fiscal health of the U.S. government, funds are being expended by the Innovation Center with little to no actual value provided,” the senators wrote to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Reducing health care costs is vital to preserving the solvency of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, but we are concerned that the Administration’s current approach, operating within the fee-for-service system, will not achieve the spending reductions necessary to meet this goal.”

Established under the $2.6 trillion health law, CMMI was created to test new payment and service delivery models under Medicare and Medicaid. To date, the program, which was appropriated $10 billion in federal funding, has yet to produce recommendations or implement a single systematic change or reform to the programs.  In their letters, the Senators requested Comptroller General Gene Dodaro conduct an extensive study regarding the implementation of several new Centers and Offices created with CMS, including CMMI. They further asked Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to outline CMMI’s operating strategy and detail how the $10 billion in funding is being used.

The letters to Secretary Sebelius and Comptroller General Dodaro are attached.

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