KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Critics Question Berwick’s Ties To Think-Tank Donors

Donald Berwick, who was recently appointed as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services without a Senate hearing, did not list donors who contributed up to $5 million to the think tank he ran before his appointment on ethics disclosure forms, the Washington Times reports. The White House says Berwick is in full compliance with ethics rules, which only require disclosure of clients with whom a nominee is directly involved, but Sen. Charles Grassley wrote in a letter "the public has the right to know whether the numerous and significant policy decisions that you make are vulnerable to these potential conflicts of financial interest."

Contributors to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the think tank Berwick founded and led until recently, include the "BlueCross BlueShield Association of America, Cardinal Health Foundation, Aetna Foundation, the RX Foundation and Baxter International. … Those entities have provided anywhere from $50,000 to as much as $5 million each to the institute's '5 Million Lives Campaign,' which aims to improve hospital safety" (McElhatton, 8/10).

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