Sebelius Resigns Top HHS Post; Obama Announces New Nominee
US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced her resignation late on Thursday, April 10, amid speculation that her departure is related to the troubled Healthcare.gov website rollout.
Sebelius was appointed by President Obama following his election and she has overseen the development and implementation of the president’s signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act. She also has been a key supporter of health IT initiatives such as the “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program and ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation, according to AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA.
“AHIMA has long advocated for such advances, as we believe they will help move healthcare toward data-driven decision making and improved patient care. We thank her for her leadership, and we hope such progress will continue,” Thomas Gordon said.
President Obama officially announced on Friday his intention to nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who currently serves as his director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to replace Sebelius at HHS. Burwell has been a pivotal player in budget battles related to the government shutdown in 2013, according to Politico, and has great knowledge of health law policies from a budget perspective.
Sebelius’ departure comes as the Obama administration is notching targeted enrollment rates through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and Healthcare.gov insurance exchange signups. Although the administration exceeded its goal of signing up seven million people, Sebelius took a big share of the blame for the website problems that plagued the system’s rollout, drawing calls from critics for her resignation.
“If I could take something along with me,” Sebelius said, according to the New York Times, it would be “all the animosity.”