Marilyn Tavenner, MHA, BSN, RN

Marilyn Tavenner, MHA, BSN, RN

Barely 20 months after Marilyn B. Tavenner, MHA, BSN, RN was confirmed as the chief of Medicaid and Medicare, she has turned in her resignation. The move comes less than 1 year after her own boss, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebilius, left office.

Tavenner leaves the Obama administration along with her second-in-command, Aryana C. Khalid, Chief of Staff, Office of the Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Part of Kahlid’s job included project management for the Affordable Care Act, and concentrating on operations for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service.

According to a report from the Associated Press, Tavenner was a central player in the 2013 decision to go live with the website. She reportedly provided the signature on a required cybersecurity clearance needed to launch the site, despite accounts that technology professionals had indicated testing was incomplete. The website later passed security tests and received full authority to operate.

Current HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell says Tavenner made the decision to leave. According to reports from the AP reactions from Republicans and Democrats was mixed, with voices among conservatives expressing both support and dismay for Tavenner. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, expressed support by saying Tavenner had proved herself an honest, strong leader who provided “private sector sensibility” to her position. In contrast, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said simply, “Tavenner had to go.”

Tavenner will be succeeded by Andy Slavitt, according to current HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. Slavitt is a tech executive who assisted with the rescue shortly after its rollout.

—Frank Long, editorial director, Rehab Management