Elizabeth Richter will serve as acting CMS administrator

Elizabeth Richter will serve as acting administrator for CMS, according to the agency’s website on Wednesday.

The career civil servant previously served as CMS’ deputy center director, leading policy development and operations management for Medicare’s fee-for-service program since 2007. She has held several roles focused on Medicare payment issues since she joined the agency in 1990.

Healthcare insiders have waited with bated breath for Biden to announce his pick for CMS administrator. But he hasn’t done it yet, even though the agency’s Medicare and Medicaid programs cover nearly 1 in 3 Americans. CMS’ budget is more than $1 trillion, accounting for over a quarter of federal spending.

Richter will likely provide a steady hand on the tiller until Biden nominates a candidate to be confirmed by the Senate. But CMS probably won’t make any major policy decisions or roll out big, new initiatives until someone permanently takes over the agency.

Micky Tripathi, chief alliance officer at population health software company Arcadia, has been named chief of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

He previously served as president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, which wound down its operations last year, and founding president and CEO of the Indiana Health Information Exchange.

Tripathi also sits on the board of directors for interoperability groups including the Sequoia Project, the CommonWell Health Alliance, the CARIN Alliance and the HL7 FHIR Foundation.

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