Andrea Palm, the new HHS deputy secretary, was often the person 340B stakeholders met with at HHS when she served in the department during the Obama administration.

Andrea Palm Confirmed as HHS Deputy Secretary

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted 61-37 to confirm Andrea Palm’s nomination to be deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Palm voiced support for the 340B program during her confirmation hearing.

Palm’s confirmation still leaves a number of major posts within HHS unfilled including the heads of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Only one of the three posts, CMS administrator, has been nominated.  Senate Democrats broke a log jam yesterday that will likely enable Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, President Biden’s  nominee as CMS administrator, to be approved as early as next week. The Senate voted 51-48 on Wednesday to discharge her nomination from the Senate Finance Committee where the committee deadlocked on her nomination.

Palm most recently was the secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Gov. Tony Evers (D) appointed her to the post in 2019. Palm had two stints at HHS during the Obama administration, serving as chief of staff, senior counselor to the secretary, and acting assistant secretary for legislation. She was often the point person at HHS for meeting with 340B stakeholders.

During her Senate Finance Committee nomination hearing last month, Palm said 340B “was often a topic of conversation and a challenge” during her previous time at HHS.

“It’s a critical program for our safety net providers and for the low-income folks that are able to access drugs through the program and I, if confirmed, would look forward to the opportunity to make sure that the program is working as it’s supposed to be working, and that the oversight and implementation are appropriate so that we really are implementing legislative intent and getting to our safety net providers and low income communities the access that they need,” she said.

“We are elated to have her join the HHS team,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “As a veteran of the Obama-Biden administration and as the former top health official in Wisconsin, Ms. Palm brings valuable experience and deep knowledge to this role.”