September 26, 2006—The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have named Leslie Norwalk acting director in the wake of Mark McClellan’s resignation. Norwalk, who currently serves as CMS deputy administrator, could oversee CMS for months or even years, depending on how long it takes the President to name a permanent successor to McClellan.

Norwalk has been in senior leadership positions at CMS for five years; she also served as a lawyer during President Bush’s first term and during George H. Bush’s presidency. “She is a nationally recognized expert on Medicare issues and played a central role in the successful implementation of the prescription drug benefit and other reforms to Medicare and Medicaid,” said Mike Leavitt, secretary of the Health and Human Services department.

One of Norwalk’s first responsibilities as acting director will be superintending the next enrollment period for the prescription drug benefit.

—Cat Vasko