April 1, 2004
Mr. Chairman, members of the Ways and Means Committee. Good afternoon - my name is Jeff Flick. I am currently serving as the Regional Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the San Francisco Regional Office. I am a career civil servant and my employment with CMS began in January 2001. Shortly after starting work in Washington, D.C., I was detailed into the Office of the Acting Administrator. I worked for a couple of months as a special assistant to the Acting Administrator, Michael McMullan. I was working in the Office of the Administrator when Tom Scully was sworn in as the CMS Administrator in May 2001. I continued my work as a special assistant, working directly with Administrator Scully until September 2003, when I assumed my current role as Regional Administrator in San Francisco.
I am pleased to be with you today and I assume that you are interested in talking with me regarding an email I sent to Rick Foster in June of 2003 in my capacity as special assistant to the Administrator. As special assistant to the Administrator, I was largely involved in the day-to-day work of the Administrator. Some people would describe this as keeping the trains running. I tried to make sure the schedules made sense, appropriate briefing materials were prepared, etc. The important work of the Agency was accomplished and, yes, I tried to keep the Administrator on schedule. I was rarely, if ever, involved in the details of the work. In fact, it was more than full-time job simply keeping up with the daily workflow in the Office of the Administrator.
In June of 2003, I prepared an email that I sent to Rick Foster. This email was sent to Rick after I had at least one conversation with Rick, and after I had several conversations with the Administrator. The email focused on a request from a minority staff member for an impact analysis on a specific provision in the bill. As I recall, the Administrator was very concerned about the analysis, and the request for the analysis. This particular request caught his attention in a way others did not. He suggested to me that at least some of the information that was requested involved provisions that were no longer in the bill. He asked me to contact Rick Foster - requesting that Mr. Foster work up the numbers and send them directly to the Administrator. The Administrator was very clear - have Rick send them to me prior to sharing with anyone else. The Administrator indicated to me that he would probably be talking with Rick about this and he emphasized to me that Rick should not release the numbers until I (the Administrator) have a chance to review the information, and until I (Tom Scully) explicitly talk with Rick authorizing the release.
I relayed this message to Rick (through a phone call) but I was not convinced that Rick would comply with the request of the Administrator. Rick sent an email directly to the Administrator after my conversation with Rick, asking that he (Rick) be allowed to release the information immediately. I retrieved the email and gave it to the Administrator. Administrator Scully authorized the release of some information but he asked me to contact Rick a second time, confirming the initial instructions, and the Administrator emphasized that if Rick does not adhere to these instructions, it is outright insubordination and insubordination carries serious consequences. The language in this statement is not exact. I am recalling this from memory to the best of my ability and the actual language may have been more colorful than the text in this statement.
I was not able to reach Rick by telephone and I comprised an email to communicate the message that the Administrator asked me to convey to Rick Foster. I believe the email I sent to Rick Foster was an accurate reflection of the message I was instructed by Administrator Scully to convey. I believe I shared a copy of the email with Administrator Scully.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman; this concludes my remarks.
Last Revised: April 5, 2004