Hospital lobbyist picked for CMS leadership post


June 8, 2021 3:13 pm

The Biden administration has tapped Erin Richardson, a top lobbyist at the Federation of American Hospitals, as chief of staff to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, according to multiple sources familiar with the move.

Richardson and representatives for CMS and HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Richardson, who most recently served as senior vice president of government affairs at the lobby representing for-profit health systems, previously worked at the White House Domestic Policy Council during the Obama administration. Before that, she worked on the House Ways and Means Committee, which also counts Brooks-LaSure and HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra among its alumni.

Background: The administration has been slow to fill top health jobs at the agency central to implementing much of President Joe Biden’s health care agenda, with some key regulatory deadlines approaching. The agency will help lead work on implementing a new law banning surprise medical bills and deciding whether to keep or tweak controversial Trump-era drug pricing policies.

Agency hiring may pick up after Brooks-LaSure’s confirmation last month. Jon Blum, another Obama-era CMS alumnus, was recently named the agency’s principal deputy administrator. However, the heads of the Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance offices have not yet been named.