For The Tavenners, Health Care Is All In The Family

Hospital administrators have to deal with Medicare and Medicaid almost every day.

Not too many have to deal with Mom at the same time.

But Matt Tavenner does.

Marilyn Tavenner is the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Matt, assistant administrator at Jackson Purchase Medical Center in Mayfield, Ky., is her son.

In December, President Barack Obama nominated Marilyn Tavenner to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Jackson Purchase is one of 54 hospitals owned by Brentwood, Tenn.-based LifePoint Hospitals.

Marilyn, who joined the administration in early 2010, mentioned Matt in a brief talk Tuesday before about 1,000 people at the Federation of American Hospitals conference in Washington.

The federation represents for-profit hospital chains, including Nashville-based HCA, where Marilyn spent 25 years before becoming Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources in 2006.

Her experience as a nurse and administrator means she’s well aware of how government policies affect caregivers and hospital executives, she said.

And then there’s Matt. “I also have a son at LifePoint who texts me with what we screwed up in Washington,” she said. “It’s a reality check.”

Before getting his graduate degree in Healthcare Administration at Virginia Commonwealth University (also his mother’s alma mater), Matt worked at HCA for nearly four years as a patient access director, according to his LinkedIn profile. He didn’t return a call for comment.

Copyright 2012 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/.