sylvia burwell

October 13, 2016

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services

You think your job is tough? Imagine being Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), our nation’s largest governmental agency. Most notably, Secretary Burwell is responsible for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Office of the Surgeon General, the Office of Inspector General, the National Institutes of Health, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. That’s not even a complete list.

Part of Secretary Burwell’s job is to transform our healthcare system from a fee-for-service model to a value-based system driven by the goals of access, affordability, and quality. In this role, she oversees the implementation and administration of Medicare and Medicaid. Initiatives and legislation linked to these programs, such as the Health Insurance Marketplace and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare), have all but upended our healthcare system, sending providers, payers, and patients scrambling to understand and manage the changes.

Recently, Secretary Burwell sat down with Sarah Kliff, Deputy Senior Editor for Vox. Their discussion ranges from the three-pronged HHS strategy for healthcare (outcomes-based payments, integrated care, and use of data) to a number of other topics, including bundling,  measuring quality, the opioid crisis, accountable care organizations, and the importance of putting the consumer at the center of care.

Whether your job is understanding healthcare policy, providing care, or being an engaged patient, listening to this discussion will help provide some context for the changing healthcare environment. You can access the interview from your browser or find The Weeds via your favorite podcast app. Enjoy!


Sylvia Mathews Burwell has served as HHS Secretary since 2014, coinciding with the second open enrollment period of the ACA health insurance marketplace. Previously she was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Secretary Burwell received a bachelor’s degree in government, cum laude, from Harvard University in 1987 and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. You can keep current by following Secretary Burwell on Twitter at @SecBurwell and the HHS on Facebook. For great healthcare reporting, follow Sarah Kliff at @sarahkliff.

SpecialtyCare’s work in and around the operating room and the quality metrics that we provide play an important role in helping our customers meet the demands of the changing healthcare environment. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter at @SpecialtyCareUS.