The Boston Globe
explores the background of President Barack Obama's likely pick for head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "Governments around the world have long sought Donald Berwick's expertise to help solve stubborn health care problems — from hospital-acquired infections to medication errors." Berwick "is now facing a more daunting challenge" in running CMS. "The agency is one of the government's largest, with 4,500 employees and an annual budget of $780 billion. It serves almost 102 million elderly, low-income, and disabled Americans. Berwick has never run anything larger than his 110-employee Cambridge consulting firm and think tank and has never worked in Washington. But people who know him say he has the intellect and judgment to run the agency."
Berwick has been a leader in battling hospital infections, and "[h]ealth care leaders from all over the globe have tapped Berwick's nonprofit institute for guidance. President Clinton asked him to serve on an advisory commission on consumer protection and health care quality in the 1990s. Berwick's resume also includes more than a passing brush with royalty: For his help in revamping Britain's health care system, in 2005 he was made an honorary knight, the highest award given by the United Kingdom to noncitizens" (Lazar, 3/31).