CMS Administrator Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Visits with Texas Health Care Leaders at TMF Health Quality Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pictured Left to Right (William G. Gamel, MD, CEO, TMF Health Quality Institute, Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, Commissioner, Texas Department of State Health Services. Photo by Jonathan Nelson, Texas Academy of Family Physicians.
(September 21, 2005 – AUSTIN, Texas) – On September 16, 2005, Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, met with Texas health care leaders at TMF Health Quality Institute (TMF). The reason for Dr. McClellan’s visit was to review the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage that will be implemented in January 2006 and to talk about efforts to treat victims of Hurricane Katrina who are now living in Texas.
In his opening remarks, Dr. McClellan praised TMF’s efforts to improve the quality of health care in Texas. “TMF is leading the way,” he said. Dr. McClellan mentioned examples that highlighted TMF’s leadership position in health care quality improvement. “TMF is number one in the country in its nursing home improvement efforts.”
Dr. McClellan then turned his attention to the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage. “Forty years ago, when Medicare started, the focus of health care was on treating an existing illness,” he said. “Today it’s also about preventing that illness.”
The Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage will provide beneficiaries with assistance in paying for prescription drugs. This drug benefit will not be part of the traditional Medicare program, but will be offered through private insurance plans. “In this program, people have a choice,” said Dr. McClellan. Medicare beneficiaries will have to choose to enroll in the plan. “We need to help beneficiaries make decisions that are best for them.”
Dr. McClellan stressed the importance of active partnership between the local and federal health care entities to make this program a success. “In the last few weeks, with Hurricane Katrina, we’ve seen how much local networks matter to get the right help for people. We can’t solve problems in Washington alone. We need your support at the local level as we deal with the aftermath of local disasters.”
As the meeting wrapped, Dr. McClellan answered questions from meeting participants and then thanked all of them for attending the meeting. “Thank you for all the efforts,” he said. “Partnering with you is an essential part of the Medicare program.”
About TMF Health Quality Institute
TMF Health Quality Institute, formerly Texas Medical Foundation, is an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit consulting company focused on promoting quality health and health care through contracts with federal, state and local governments, as well as private organizations. TMF partners with health care providers in a variety of settings to ensure that every person receives the appropriate care, every time.