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CMS Administrator Seema Verma names Chris Traylor acting director to replace Mary Mayhew

Traylor has been named acting director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP services.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

Following the resignation last week of Medicaid and CHIP Services Director Mary Mayhew, Chris Traylor has been named acting director of the Center for Medicaid and Chip Services.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Director Seema Verma made the announcement and other staff changes to her team late Monday, according to CMS.

Traylor previously served as deputy administrator for Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Administrator. He has over 26 years of public sector service in the area of healthcare and social services, including as executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and, earlier in his career, as Medicaid director in Texas.

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Traylor takes over as acting director the position formerly held by  Mayhew, who resigned January 4 after less than three months on the job, to take a position in the administration of Republican Governor-elect Ron DeSantis in Florida.


Other staff changes include:

Dr. Marion Couch will be joining the Office of the Administrator in March as senior medical advisor, where her background as a practicing physician will help to better engage the medical community on CMS initiatives, Verma said. She will also be working with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to do specialty models and work with the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality on the Meaningful Measures initiative. Previously Dr. Couch served as the chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Dr. Anand Shah will be moving to the Office of the Administrator as senior medical advisor for Innovation, where he will lead efforts across CMS to advance medical innovation, Verma said. Previously he served as the chief medical officer at CMMI where he worked with the team on the clinical design of novel payment and service delivery models including those for primary care, specialty care and prescription drugs.

Alec Aramanda has been officially appointed to serve in the Office of the Administrator as director of Stakeholder Engagement. He was previously on detail, and will continue to be responsible for directing the Administrator's stakeholder outreach activities across CMS, including serving as the point person for coordinating ongoing stakeholder and clinician outreach efforts currently being led by OC, CCSQ and other components, Verma said. Alec most recently served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Policy in the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Legislation, where he oversaw the Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP portfolio.

Karen Aldana joins the Office of Communications as deputy director for Communications. She previously worked in communications and public relations at the Department of Transportation. She will focus on managing external communications and working closely with the Office of the Administrator.

Meredith Good-Cohn has joined the Office of the Administrator as special assistant to the Administrator. Previously she served as the Health Research Assistant for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, where she conducted policy research and worked with stakeholders on drug pricing. Prior to her time in the Senate, Meredith held policy roles at Arnold & Porter LLP and Squire Patton Boggs LLP, focusing on legislative and regulatory matters relating to Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program.


"We are excited about these changes and what they can help us achieve as we continue to work on our many strategic initiatives this year," Verma said.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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