LAST CALL: HCFA's renaming is devilishly difficult

Ready to have your Medicare brought to you from the good folks at

HADES? That was one of the humorous trial balloons floated after

Secretary of Health & Human Services Tommy Thompson announced his desire

to find a new name for the Health Care Financing Administration


Seems Thompson isn't enamored with the reputation of the agency that

administers the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Part of his drive to

change HCFA's bureaucratic culture included sponsoring a contest within

the agency to change its name (pronounced hick-fur).

Some GOPers came up with their own ideas to assist Thompson including

the staff of Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), which contributed Health And

Death Evaluation Services.

The winning entry was the more pedestrian Centers for Medicare and

Medicaid Services, shortened to CMS to be more speech friendly.

But until HCFA - oops, CMS - really changes its ways, you can bet many

healthcare providers tormented by its regulations and paperwork

requirements will be thinking that such red tape could only come from


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