The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), previously known as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), is a federal agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that administers the Medicare program and works in partnership with state governments to administer Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and health insurance portability standards. In addition to these programs, CMS has other responsibilities, including the administrative simplification standards from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), quality standards in long-term care facilities (more commonly referred to as nursing homes) through its survey and certification process, clinical laboratory quality standards under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, and oversight of HealthCare.gov.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments on July 30, 1965, establishing both Medicare and Medicaid. Arthur E. Hess, a deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration, was named as first director of the Bureau of Health Insurance in 1965, placing him as the first executive in charge of the Medicare program. At the time, the program provided health insurance to 19 million Americans. The Social Security Administration (SSA) became responsible for the administration of Medicare and the Social and Rehabilitation Service (SRS) became responsible for the administration of Medicaid. Both agencies were organized under what was then known as the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).
In 1977, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) was established under HEW. HCFA became responsible for the coordination of Medicare and Medicaid. The responsibility for enrolling beneficiaries into Medicare and processing premium payments remained with SSA.
The CMS employs over 6,000 people, of whom about 4,000 are located at its headquarters in Woodlawn, Maryland. The remaining employees are located in the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington, D.C., the 10 regional offices listed below, and in various field offices located throughout the United States.
The head of the CMS is the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The position is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. On March 13, 2017, Seema Verma was confirmed by the US Senate as Administrator of CMS.
CMS has its headquarters in Woodlawn, Maryland, with 10 regional offices located throughout the United States: