Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Leadership

Seema Verma, Administrator

seema verma

President Trump nominated Seema Verma to be the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on November 29th, 2016, and she was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 13, 2017. As Administrator of CMS, she oversees one of the largest federal agencies that administers vital healthcare programs to over 100 million Americans. Before becoming CMS Administrator, she was the President, CEO and founder of SVC, Inc., a national health policy consulting company. For over 20 years, Ms. Verma has worked extensively on a variety of policy and strategic projects involving Medicaid, insurance, and public health, working with Governor's offices, State Medicaid agencies, State Health Departments, State Departments of Insurance, as well as the federal government, private companies and foundations.

Ms. Verma has extensive experience redesigning Medicaid programs in several states. Ms. Verma is the architect the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), the Nation's first consumer-directed Medicaid program under Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Governor Pence’s HIP 2.0 waiver proposal. Ms. Verma has supported Indiana through development of the historic program since its inception in 2007, from development of the enabling legislation, negotiating the financing plan with the State’s hospital association, developing the federal waiver, supporting federal negotiations and leading the implementation of the program, including the operational design.

Ms. Verma and her SVC team developed many of the recent Medicaid reform programs including waivers for Iowa, Ohio and Kentucky. She helped design Tennessee’s coverage expansion proposal and also provided technical assistance to Michigan as that State implemented its 1115 Medicaid waiver. Ms. Verma and SVC also supported Iowa’s Medicaid transition to managed care, as well as supporting efforts Medicaid strategy efforts in Maine.

Ms. Verma served as the State of Indiana’s health reform lead following the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and has worked with multiple public health agencies and state insurance agencies as they prepared for implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including interpreting and implementing regulatory changes and understanding the impact of the health exchanges on state insurance markets. Ms. Verma has served as Vice President of Planning for the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana, and as a Director with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) in Washington D.C.

Ms. Verma received her Master’s degree in Public Health with concentration in health policy and management from Johns Hopkins University and her Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences from the University of Maryland.

Centers for Medicaid & CHIP Services Leadership

Calder Lynch, Acting Deputy Administrator and Director

Photo of Calder Lynch

In May 2019, Calder Lynch was appointed Acting Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicaid & CHIP Services, where he serves as the agency’s senior executive overseeing the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs, which cover some 72 million Americans. Calder began his career at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in May 2017, when he was named the Senior Counselor to the Administrator.

Prior to his federal service, he was the Nebraska state Medicaid director under Governor Pete Ricketts. In that capacity, he oversaw the division responsible for the state unit on aging and the provision of health coverage to nearly 240,000 Nebraskans. During his time in Nebraska, Calder led the development and implementation of the state’s integrated managed care program, Heritage Health.

Prior to his work in Nebraska, Calder served as the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. A Louisiana native, Calder earned his degree in Business Administration from Louisiana State University and his Masters in Health Administration (MSHA) from the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB).

Karen Shields, Deputy Director

Karen Shields is the Deputy Director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Karen has held several leadership positions in the public sector, as well as at HHS. She previously served as the Deputy Director at Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) and as the Director for Marketplace Operations.  During her time at CCIIO she led multiple Open Enrollment periods and oversaw the team responsible for the implementation, design and launch of systems for the disbursement of over $23 billion in federal payments to health insurance plans.

Before joining CCIIO Karen worked in the Office of Information and Technology (OIT) and led the Division of Customer Liaison and Support services. She joined CMS in 2009 leading multiple laptop refreshes and the agency’s Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-12 technology implementation.

Prior to joining CMS, Karen worked at Lockheed Martin for nine years, where she led multiple technology projects with the Departments of Defense, Treasury and other government agencies.