A health care administrator with ties to Western Virginia has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the new head of the federal agency that administers Medicare and Medicaid.
Marilyn Tavenner, who grew up in Henry County, will take over the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at a time of major change in the health care field.
She will be responsible for overseeing new policies under the Affordable Care Act, the new health care law that calls for more affordable insurance to be sold through exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid for the poor, among other things.
A Fieldale native, Tavenner graduated from a nursing school at Roanoke Memorial Hospital, now owned by Carilion Clinic. She worked for more than 25 years for HCA, a national hospital chain and parent company of LewisGale Regional Health System.
After starting as a nurse at Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond, Tavenner eventually became its chief executive officer. In 2005, incoming Gov. Tim Kaine selected her to run Virginia’s health department. After that, she served as deputy administrator and acting administrator of CMS.
“Marilyn brings with her a breadth of experience and expertise from virtually all angles of health care policy and delivery,” Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement this week.