Saturday, July 31, 2010

More troubles for Berwick?

Much of the recent criticism aimed at Don Berwick, the new CMS Administrator, is, in my opinion, unfair and politically motivated. Other criticism is legitimate, as some in the quality and infection prevention communities have disagreed with his willingness to vigorously pursue some strategies that lack strong evidence. This was discussed in a blog posting a few months ago by Bob Wachter. Now there's a new issue emerging. Sen. Chuck Grassley has requested that Berwick disclose the funding of the non-profit he founded, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. According to IHI's 2008 form 990, which can be viewed at the Guidestar website, Berwick's reportable compensation was $2.3 million in 2008. Regardless of the motivation behind Grassley's information request, whether Berwick has conflicts of interest is a legitimate question.

Addendum (8/1/10, 9:50 AM):  Click here for more.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting on this, Mike.

    Berwick pulled down a hefty salary, along with other IHI leadership, and I agree that it is appropriate to ask if he might have a COI with respect to the donors who indirectly paid that salary. However, I can't figure out what the disclosure controversy is about. I went to the IHI website and it looks like you can find all their donors there....if you go to their homepage, then click on the "about us" tab, then click on "donors", it tells you not only who they are, an approximate amount they gave, but also which donors supported specific initiatives. Is it that Grassley wants more detail about the donors? Exact amounts, and then how each amount was distributed?

    Of more concern to me would be COI related to the content of each IHI initiative. It is important to determine if the donors for specific initiatives (or bundles within them) include any partners who would benefit financially from the wide application of the bundle elements....for example, it would be an obvious COI for the maker of a commercial MDRO detection test to provide financial support for a campaign that includes MDRO screening within a "bundle".