Round-the-World Trip Ends on K Street

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, October 5, 2006

People leaving Capitol Hill or the administration often have another job lined up. Conventional wisdom would dictate that it's not a good idea to give the people you want to influence on behalf of a client time to forget who you are. Or to give your connections time to leave for the private sector themselves.

But Rob Foreman , the top legislative staffer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for several years, did leave about 18 months ago with no plan for his career but to clear his mind.

Instead of taking a K Street job, Foreman, who also worked for eight years for Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), visited his family in Florida, took a trip around the world and did a little consulting. "I wanted to think out my career," and that required getting out of town, said Foreman, 55 and single.

He had more traveling planned for this fall, but former CMS administrator Thomas A. Sculley , now senior counsel at the law firm Alston & Bird , which lobbies for the Renal Leadership Council, contacted Foreman about a possible job at the group.

So now Foreman is the new president of the Kidney Care Council. One of Foreman's first acts was to change the name of the group of kidney-dialysis companies. "No one really knows what 'Renal Leadership' means," he said.

The group was basically an informal trade association. But with the hiring of Foreman, it's taking on a more structured and strategic approach to the industry and Washington.

"I found the people to be very committed to what they're doing. There was a certain passion I got from the people here," he said.

The big issue for the group, which also uses Patton Boggs for lobbying, is getting legislation authorizing the CMS to do automatic cost and reimbursement updates under Medicare for dialysis centers, as it does for other health-care services. "Now it takes an act of Congress. That that is very complicated to do is an understatement," Foreman said.

If the group can't attach the legislative language to a measure moving during the lame-duck session after the elections, it will try next year, he said.

Nickles Ponders Post-Election Period

Speaking of the lame-duck session . . . Former senator Don Nickles (R-Okla.) briefly opined about how active Republicans might be after the elections if they lose control of the House. Lame-duck sessions are difficult times to pass legislation, particularly controversial measures.

Would the House Republicans try to push through their agenda while they're still in charge?

The House could get something through, but the Senate still has to cooperate for anything to be enacted, Nickles said. "It could get interesting," he added.

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