Author Archives: Patrick Conway

"I Look Forward to Transforming Our Health Care System Together"

Jul 19, 2011, 12:00 PM, Posted by Patrick Conway

Patrick H. Conway, M.D., M.Sc., is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation Clinical Scholars program (2005 – 2007) and the new Chief Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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I am writing to update the RWJ Clinical Scholars “Family,” the Foundation community and friends, on a new career development. For those whom I haven’t met, I was a RWJ Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. I recently took on the role of Chief Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Director of the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality (OCSQ) for CMS. I report directly to Dr. Don Berwick, the Administrator, and have already learned a lot from him.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) portion of this role entails being the senior clinical advisor to the Administrator of CMS, representing the agency to a wide range of stakeholders, and shaping policy across the agency. I work closely with regional CMS CMOs across the country.

The Director of OCSQ role entails leading an office of hundreds of staff, thousands of contractors, and a budget exceeding $1.3 billion annually. Our office is responsible for all quality measures for CMS, including how the measures link to payment. We are responsible for programs such as value-based purchasing for hospitals and other providers, the hospital inpatient quality reporting program, and physician quality reporting system. We are working to align measures across programs, focus on outcomes when possible, improve patient safety, and incentivize coordinated care across settings. We lead quality improvement organizations (QIOs) in all 50 states and three territories and we plan to further develop these organizations into learning networks supporting improvement directly at the front lines of care.

The office is also responsible for all coverage decisions for CMS, including provider services, medical devices and biologics, and diagnostic testing. We believe these coverage decisions can better support quality of care and evidence development.

We are also responsible for all clinical standards, such as conditions of participation, for CMS. We are currently rewriting the hospital conditions of participation, which would be the first time that these have been updated in decades. These conditions guide the survey and certification work done across the country by Joint Commission and CMS surveyors.

Finally, the office contains the information systems group that supports collection of quality measurement data from hospitals, physicians, and other providers across the country.

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