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Family Practice Coding Alert

HCFA Name Change

The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), which administers Medicare and Medicaid policy, has been renamed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Tommy Thompson, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced the change during a June 14 news conference. Thompson promised "sweeping reforms" to ensure a more responsive and effective agency, with quality service for beneficiaries, providers and the states as its "number one priority."

"We're not just changing the name," Thompson said, "we are changing the way we do business." He provided no specific details, however, regarding how the changes would affect healthcare providers.

As a first step toward reform, the agency has been reorganized into three centers of service. The Center for Medicare Management will oversee traditional fee-for-services programs; The Center for Beneficiary Choices will focus on providing beneficiaries with information on Medicare, Medicare Select, Medicare+Choice and Medigap options; and The Center for Medicaid and State Operations will focus on Medicaid and programs administered by the states.

For complete information on the organization of the newly-named Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, please visit our Web site at