- One of the longest-serving officials in the Trump administration, the Indian American will help the company address the key issues facing the healthcare payor system.
Seema Verma, a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has joined Shift Technology as a strategic advisor to the company and the inaugural member of its Healthcare Advisory Board. According to a company press release, the new Healthcare Advisory Board “will help the company address the key issues facing the healthcare payor system, and support the continued development of the technology solutions required to solve these complex challenges.”
A national health policy expert, Verma was the longest-serving CMS Administrator in modern history. In that role, she oversaw health insurance programs for over 140 million Americans; managed a budget of $1.3 trillion, which represents almost a third of the federal budget; and led over 6,000 employees. Further, she spearheaded the implementation of more than 16 strategic initiatives aimed at transforming the American health care system to lower costs, improve quality, and increase access.
She is the protégé of Vice President Mike Pence, who urged President Trump to appoint her to head up the CMS. She has played a key role in the government’s coronavirus response, serving on the White House coronavirus task force led by Pence. The Washington Post reported that under Verma’s leadership, the CMS “has rolled out a number of telehealth, hospital and nursing home rules and regulations over the past several months.”
She officially stepped down as the head of CMS on Jan. 15, 2021, a week before the incoming Biden administration took office. “From where I stand, given that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, I felt like it would be a dereliction of my duty and my commitment to the agency and to the people that we serve, to leave my post and without ensuring a smooth transition to the Biden administration,” she told The Wall Street Journal.
However, one of the longest-serving officials in the Trump administration, she told Insider that she has “no regrets,” despite some of her changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare facing “legal challenges and political backlash.” She said as a CMS administrator, she “made it a priority to tear down bureaucratic barriers to promote innovation, and I wanted to continue that focus in the private sector.” Since then, she has tried to stay active in the health care world by joining multiple companies’ boards including Shift, Zemplee, Lumeris, LifeStance and Monogram Health.
Verma said in a Shift press release that she is “proud to share what I have learned throughout my career with this industry pioneer to help make health insurance better for everyone involved in the process.”
Before heading the CMS, Verma was the founder and CEO of an Indianapolis, Indiana-based health policy consulting company, who made millions of dollars helping then Indiana Governor Mike Pence dismantle Medicaid in the state, according to Planned Parenthood.
She received her BS in life sciences from the University of Maryland and her Master of Public Health (MPH) in health policy and management from Johns Hopkins University.