“I’ve learned a good amount through working with top health policy experts inside and those who come in from outside,” said Tschumi, PMF at the Innovation Center at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
“It’s interesting to me the enormous possible gains our health system can achieve and the amount of waste in the health-care system,” Tschumi said. “Studies have shown there is $750 billion in wasted spending due to factors such as unnecessary or inefficiently delivered services.”
Her legal training has been a valuable skill for the Innovation Center, which designs and tests ways of paying for and delivering health care with the aim of improving the health-care experience for patients, bettering health in entire populations and lowering the cost of care.
As the first lawyer to work with the Center, which was created under the Affordable Care Act, she has helped the non-lawyers who are developing new health-care models to understand the legal issues surrounding them, and worked with government stakeholders who want to be sure new programs are consistent with government regulation and law.
“Ariane arrived out of the sky with a newly minted law degree,” said Richard Baron, director of the Seamless Care Models Group at the Innovation Center. “We cast her in the lead role of contacting outside organizations and managing relationships with legal colleagues within government. She winds up in the middle of this fast-moving set of conversations and she was amazing.”
Tschumi currently is on a six-month detail in the OIG, which fights waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs. She has reviewed documents and evaluated programs to uncover where there might be vulnerabilities and how to mitigate those weaknesses.
She also is helping the inspector general’s office learn and understand the complex regulations and rules surrounding the health insurance exchanges in the new health-care law.
“She is mastering them and teaching us how they work,” said Vicki Robinson, senior counselor for policy at OIG. “She is the first person with legal background brought on board to build a bridge between lawyers and non-lawyers. Hers is almost a translation role, and she’s very effective at that.”
Tschumi said she is motivated by the idea that that the United States has an enormous opportunity to create a system that can reduce waste in health care and improve health outcomes, leading to a strengthened fiscal position for the nation and improved patient health overall.