President Obama has made a "recess appointment" of Donald Berwick, M.D., president and CEO at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, to serve as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Obama nominated Berwick to the post in March but the approval process was mired in congressional politics. A recess appointment enables a president to fill posts, without congressional approval, when Congress is not in session. Berwick's appointment is effective until the Senate adjourns at the end of 2011, according to the White House.

Based in Cambridge, Mass., the Institute for Healthcare Improvement is an independent, not-for-profit organization that brings together stakeholders to share lessons and identify gaps in quality and best practices. Berwick is a pediatrician, and recently served as a clinical professor of pediatrics and health care policy at Harvard Medical School, and as professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard School of Public Health. He also has served as a member of the Institute of Medicine.

--Joseph Goedert


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