HCFA’s got a new name

Change is first step in reform

The federal agency that runs the Medicare and Medicaid programs is now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The name change was announced June 14 by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson, who noted that the new name is part of a series of initiatives aimed at increased responsiveness to beneficiaries and providers and improved quality of care.

CMS will be split into three divisions:

• The Center for Medicare Management will focus on managing the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program, including development of payment policy and management of the Medicare fee-for-service contractors.

• The Center for Beneficiary Choices will provide beneficiaries with information on Medicare, Medicare Select, Medicare+Choice, and Medigap options. It will manage the Medicare+Choice plans and consumer research and demonstrations, and handle grievance and appeals functions.

• The Center for Medicaid and State Operations will oversee programs administered by the states, including Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), insurance regulation functions, survey and certification, and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA).