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Open Door Initiative

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is above all else, a service agency. Previously known as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), the CMS is responsible for administering Medicare, Medicaid, State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson made the following statement about CMS on June 14, 2001: "We're making quality service the number one priority in this agency. We're going to encourage innovation, better educate consumers about their options, and be more responsive to the health care needs of Americans."

The Open Door Initiative is a program based on a simple and fresh attitude: that the CMS desires to better hear and interact with those beneficiaries, providers, and other stakeholders interested in the delivery of quality healthcare for our nation's seniors and beneficiaries with disabilities. This increased emphasis on responsiveness is captured through an ongoing series of 'Open Door Forums' that provide a dialogue about both the many individual service areas and beneficiary needs within CMS.

There are currently fourteen individual ongoing forums held on a monthly or bimonthly basis. The CMS also continues to pilot new forums as well as hold special forums to meet current and evolving provider and beneficiary needs. Each forum is chaired by a senior-level agency official and co-chaired by a CMS Regional Administrator. Senior CMS leadership, including both our Administrator Dr. Mark McClellan, and Deputy Administrator Leslie Norwalk actively participate in these forums. Rich Lawlor, a senior level policy advisor in the Office of the Administrator, directs the forums.


Council on Technology & Innovation ODF (Rescheduled)

When: October 22, 3:00 - 5:00 pm

Section 942(a) of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 establishes a Council for Technology and Innovation (CTI), charged with leading improvements in the coordination of coverage, coding, and payment processes with respect to new technologies and procedures (including new drug therapies). The CTI will additionally serve in facilitating the exchange of information between CMS and other entities both public and private, that are faced with making similar decisions.

CMS is holding this Special Open Door to introduce the Council, and to report their progress in a few areas, including the agency's coverage guidance development process and in the priority setting for future guidance areas. We hope to engage in related discussions regarding the use of current agency practices, with the goal of more efficient coordination when products and services are accepted for coverage, and coded for appropriate payment. We are also looking to hear stakeholder input and ideas for other Council areas of investigation, including how CMS can support clinical research to gather useful information when questions of effectiveness and cost remain unanswered relative to product or service value for the Medicare program. Get more information (PDF, 15 KB).

Prescription Drug Plan Bidders' Data Sets: CMS Data Now Available

These data sets are being used to meet industry's requests that CMS share information from public data sets that could help potential drug plan bidders to better understand and estimate the eligible Medicare beneficiary population's utilization of prescription drugs. Get more information.

The chairs and co-chairs for each of the ongoing forums are listed below. CMS encourages you to visit the links to the right to review the schedule and other important news.

Open Door Forum Chairpersons Regional Co-Chairpersons
Ambulance Bill Rogers, MD Charlotte Yeh, MD
Coordination of Benefits (formerly Medicare as Secondary Payer) Gerald Walters  
Disability Charlene Brown Joe Tilghman
Diversity Ken Simon, MD Rose Crum-Johnson
ESRD and Clinical Laboratories Brady Augustine Barry Straube, MD
Health Plans Gary Bailey Jackie Garner
Home Health, Hospice, and
Durable Medical Equipment
Winnie Pizzano James Kerr
Hospitals Herb Kuhn Charlotte Yeh, MD
Low-Income Health Access Susan McNally & Alexander Ross (HRSA) Jeff Flick
New Freedom Initiative (PDF) Dennis Smith Joe Tilghman
Pharmaceutical, Pharmacy, and
Device Manufacturers
Sean Tunis, MD Gil Kunken, DDS
Physicians, Nurses & Allied Health Leslie Norwalk Alex Trujillo
Rural Health Tim Trysla Randy Farris, MD
Skilled Nursing Facilities/Long-term Care Sheila Lambowitz Jeff Flick


The Open Door Forum schedule for the month ahead is available for review.

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Last Modified on Thursday, September 16, 2004