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GAO Makes MedPAC Appointments and Designates Vice Chair

WASHINGTON, DC (May 29, 2014) – Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), today announced the appointment of three new members to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), as well as the reappointment of two existing members and the designation of the Commission’s Vice Chair.

“MedPAC serves an important advisory role. We were fortunate to again have an outstanding group of applicants, and I’m very pleased to announce the latest round of appointments to the Commission,” said Dodaro.

The newly appointed members are Kathy Buto, MPA; Francis “Jay” Crosson, MD, Group Vice President, American Medical Association in Chicago, Illinois; and Warner Thomas, MBA, President and CEO of the Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, Louisiana. Their terms will expire in April 2017.

The reappointed members, whose terms will also expire in April 2017, are Willis D. Gradison, Jr., MBA, formerly a Scholar in Residence in the Health Sector Management Program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and William J. Hall, MD, Director of the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

In addition, Commissioner Jon B. Christianson, PhD, Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, has been designated as Vice Chair of the Commission.

Congress established MedPAC in 1997 to analyze access to care, cost and quality of care, and other key issues affecting Medicare. MedPAC advises Congress on payments to health plans participating in the Medicare Advantage program and providers in Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service programs. The Comptroller General is responsible for naming new commission members.

Commissioners whose terms will expire in 2016 are Scott Armstrong, President and Chief Executive Officer of Group Health Cooperative; Katherine Baicker, PhD, Professor of Health Economics in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health; Jon B. Christianson, PhD (Vice Chair); Herb B. Kuhn, President and CEO, Missouri Hospital Association; Mary Naylor, PhD, RN, Marian S. Ware Professor in Gerontology and Director of the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing; and Cori Uccello, FSA, Senior Health Fellow of the American Academy of Actuaries.

Commissioners whose terms will expire in April 2015 are Alice Coombs, MD, Critical Care Specialist and Anesthesiologist, South Shore Hospital, Weymouth, Massachusetts; Glenn M. Hackbarth, JD (Chair); Jack Hoadley, PhD, Research Professor, Health Policy Institute, Georgetown University, Washington, DC; David Nerenz, PhD, Director of the Center for Health Policy and Health Services Research, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan; Rita Redberg, MD, Professor, Clinical Medicine, University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco, California; and Craig Samitt, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, HealthCare Partners, Torrance, California.

For more information about MedPAC, contact Mark Miller, MedPAC’s executive director, at (202) 220-3700. Other calls should be directed to Chuck Young in GAO’s Office of Public Affairs at (202) 512-4800. The official announcement will be published in the Federal Register. Brief biographies of the new commission members follow.

Kathy Buto, MPA is an expert in U.S. and international health policy. She has recently been involved in a range of volunteer professional engagements, including with the National Academy of Social Insurance, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthcare Legacy Forum, and the National Science Foundation’s Study of Women in Policy Making. Her previous positions include Vice President of Global Health Policy at Johnson & Johnson, Senior Health Advisor at the Congressional Budget Office, Deputy Director of the Center for Health Plans and Providers at the Health Care Financing Administration (now Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), and Deputy Executive Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Buto received her Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University.

Francis “Jay” Crosson, MD is Group Vice President, American Medical Association in Chicago, Illinois, where he oversees the AMA’s work related to physician satisfaction, care delivery, and payment. He previously served in a number of positions with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, including Senior Fellow at the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy, the Director of Public Policy for The Permanente Medical Group, Inc., and Executive Director of the Permanente Federation, LLC. He currently serves on the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and he served on MedPAC from 2004 to 2010, including as Vice Chair from 2009 to 2010. Dr. Crosson received his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Warner Thomas, MBA is President and CEO of the Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, Louisiana. He oversees a network of 10 hospitals, 45 health centers and clinics, and 2200 affiliated physicians. The Ochsner system includes the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, the Ochsner Clinic group practice, rurally-based and sub-acute care hospitals, skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, and hospice. The Ochsner Medical Center operates one of largest accredited non-university based graduate medical education programs in the United States. It is also one of the largest Medicare risk contractors in the region and offers an Accountable Care Organization for Medicare. Mr. Thomas’s prior positions include Chief Operating Officer of the Ochsner Clinic, Vice President of Managed Care and Network Development at the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, and Senior Auditor and consultant at Ernst & Young. He received his Master of Business Administration from Boston University Graduate School of Management.


The Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative arm of Congress, is an independent, nonpartisan agency that exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also works to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO provides Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonideological, fair, and balanced. GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.

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GAO Makes Appointments to Health IT Policy Committee


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