government

Medicaid pay commission to begin work in September

MACPAC's first executive director is a former MedPAC leader.

By Doug Trapp — Posted Aug. 6, 2010

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The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission has chosen an expert with significant federal experience as executive director and will hold its first public meeting on Sept. 23-24.

MACPAC named Lu Zawistowich, ScD, as its executive director during organizational meetings held July 19-20 in Washington, D.C. Zawistowich has been acting deputy of the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Before that, she served as deputy director of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and in leadership positions at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services -- including in the Office of State Health Reform Demonstrations, where she worked with states on Medicaid managed care programs.

"Zawistowich has distinguished herself as an expert in the health policy arena throughout her professional career in state and federal government and in the private sector," said Diane Rowland, ScD, MACPAC chair and executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Zawistowich also has worked for the biotech firm Amgen and the law firm Patton Boggs.

Zawistowich obtained her doctorate of science in health policy and management from Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

MACPAC was created by the Children's Health Insurance Program reauthorization and signed into law in 2009, but it did not receive startup funding until the national health reform law provided $11 million.

The organization is modeled on MedPAC but will focus on Medicaid and CHIP. It is charged with examining the influence of Medicaid pay on access to health care, among many other issues.

The organizational meetings included an unscheduled visit by Donald Berwick, MD, administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, plus an hour-long discussion with Cynthia Mann, who oversees Medicaid at CMS, according to MACPAC Vice Chair David Sundwall, MD, a family physician and the Utah Dept. of Health's executive director. Some MACPAC members had a frank discussion with Mann about the future of Medicaid, Dr. Sundwall said.

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