It didn’t make a Wall Street Journal story on changes at the Department of Health and Human Services , and a brief mention in a pharmaceutical industry blog was a bit vague , but THCB has confirmed that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality now has an acting director who will be in charge after Jan. 20: it’s Carolyn Clancy, the current full-time director.
As the Journal reported, the outgoing Bush administration has named acting heads to lead a number of HHS agencies until the Obama administration can pick permanent new leaders. As part of that process, replacements have been named for some current chiefs who clearly won’t be staying on (e.g., Julie Gerberding, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). At the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, it will be a case of a new Acting Administrator replacing an old Acting Administrator, since Kerry Weems, the Acting Administrator since September, 2007, was never given a permanent appointment subject to Senate approval.
Clancy, who joined AHRQ in 1990, was Acting Director once before, after
the death of predecessor John Eisenberg in March, 2002. Her subsequent
appointment in 2003 to permanent director status by the Bush
administration was a rare non-political recognition of scientific
competence. (OK, it’s true that no qualified Republican with any
political clout actually wanted the AHRQ job, but that doesn’t mean it
couldn’t have been given to some ideological flunky as a consolation
prize.) The reason that Clancy is Acting Administrator once again is
that she remains a candidate for full-time appointment by the incoming
Obama administration. Like the White House chef (also retained by
Obama), non-political competence may again be a recipe for success ….