Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Seema Verma, Indiana Health Policy Expert, to Head CMS under Trump

Seema Verma, a health policy expert and health strategy consultant running her own firm in Indiana, has been announced as the next leader of CMS.  Verma's selection brings the agency one of the first administrators with extensive Medicaid experience, and an individual who is a national authority on the use of states as models for managed care innovation.

  • News story at Politico, 11/29/2016, here.
  • Coverage at STAT here.  NPR here.   Healthcare Informatics here and also here.  Health Affairs here.
  • The Indiana Star has reposted and updated its 2014 profile of Verma and her achievements, here.
  • Her Linked In Profile is here.  Her Wikipedia page here.
  • For a August 29, 2016 blog at Health Affairs on Medicaid reform by Verma, see here.

  • Her consulting firm's website, SVC Inc., is here.

The likelihood of major Medicare legislation has been debated into early December in different forums; Paul Ryan wants to move [60 Minutes], but the Senate may be reluctant [Politico].  WSJ writes, "Dems gearing up for Medicare fight," here.

Verma holds a life sciences undergraduate degree from University of Maryland (1993) and a Master's in Public Health, Health Policy, and Administration from Johns Hopkins (1996).  Her Linked In resume shows one job for fifteen years:  President of the SVC consultancy in Indianapolis, 2001-2016.

Verma's firm has worked on Medicaid expansion under special programs in Indiana, as well as Kentucky, Ohio, Iowa, Tennessee, and Michigan.  According to the Indiana Star, she has also served as Vice President for Planning at the Marion County Health & Hospital Corporation.   As of 2014, Indiana Star reported $3.5M in Indiana contracts to Verma's firm.  She also provided $1M in services to HP for its Medicaid contract management business, helping HP itself land some $500M in state contracts.  (HP inherited Medicaid computer and claims processing operations when it acquired my former employer, EDS, for $13B in 2008.)

The Indy Star article in 2014 questioned whether Verma was in a position to advise Indiana on vender selection at the same time HP was one of her clients; no conflict of interest was ever actually found.  The Star notes her consulting work for Indiana spanned four governors, two from each party.

Verma's firm has been described as "the architect" of Indiana's Medicaid innovation, the "Healthy Indiana Plan" or HIP (here, here, here).  She provided those services under Indiana's then-governor Mitch Daniels.  One source said she co-authored a Republican Governors report on Medicaid in 2011 (here).

Her article on the goals of HIP, co-written with Mitchell Roob, appeared in Health Affairs in 2008, here.   A Forbes article on HIP, from 2011, here, emphasizing HIP 1.0 policy tools to increase uptake of preventive care among Medicaid beneficiaries.  HIP 1.0 was a relatively small, high-deductible Medicaid plan (apparently with 30,000-50,000 enrolled).   For an announcement on HIP 2.0, a full-fledged Medicaid expansion involving several hundred thousand people, here.   Lewin Group published a 112-page report on Health Indiana in July 2016, here.

SVC also provides a website for SVC presentations to organizations and her 2013 Hill testimony on Medicaid reform, here.   

SVC also has dedicated webpages for its services regarding ACA, Indiana's HIP, Medicaid, and Insurance more generally.  For example, the Medicaid services page is here, with services regarding managed care Medicaid, coverage expansion, 1115 waivers, special needs plan design, and cost containment strategies (the latter describing a program in 2013 in Maine).  SVC's website provides training videos and downloadable files on healthcare reform.  For example, a 37 page deck on healthcare reform challenges 2012 is here

Her firm currently lists 8 employees, with Verma as President and Founder, Kaitlyn Feiock as Senior Health Policy Consultant, and 6 Senior Health Policy Analysts.  6 of the 8 employees are women.

Bruce Siegel, CEO of "American's Essential Hospitals," said that Verma "offers a deep understanding of healthcare delivery and policymaking and can contribute an important state-level perspective on Medicaid, insurance, and public health."  (Here).  


On December 4, 2016, House Speaker Paul Ryan emphasized the importance of Medicare reform on 60 Minutes (here).


For a subscription article on Indiana Medicaid under reforms, StanNews (December 14, here.)