On March 2, 2020, the Indian-American head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Seema Verma, was added to the Coronavirus Task Force created by President Donald Trump Jan. 29.
Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that Verma, who as Administrator of CMS, the largest health delivery agency in the country, would be added as a ‘key’ participant to the core task force.
President Donald Trump was also present at the briefing. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is a federal agency that administers the nation’s major health care programs including Medicare, Medicaid, and Childrens Health Insurance Program. providing health coverage to more than 100 million people.
Apart from Verma, the other members inducted into the Coronavirus Task Force were Robert Wilkie, secretary of Veterans Affairs. as well as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson, Commissioner of Food and Drugs Dr. Stephen Hahn, and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Kelvin Droegemeier.
Last week, the Vice President announced the addition of Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow, and Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx to the task force, established Jan. 29, 2020, by the President.
When it was established Jan. 29, the members included Azar, as well as top officials from various departments including among others, National Security, Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, the State Department, and Department of Homeland Security, and Office of Management and Budget. On March 4, Verma announced several actions aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19. At the White House daily briefing led by Vice President Pence, Verma outlined those steps.
” … because of the risk for our nation’s seniors, we are doubling down on our efforts. Today, we put out three memos. One was to hospitals about triaging and placement for patients with suspected or confirmed coronavirus. We also put out some information to nursing homes about limiting visitors to nursing homes, monitoring staff. And then, finally, we put out some information to our state surveyors that are going to be surveying our nation’s nursing homes and hospitals around infection control,” Verma said.