Robert Otto Valdez has been selected by President Biden for a key HHS policy position that impacts the 340B program.

Biden Picks Academic with Hospital Connections to Run HHS Policy Shop

President Biden announced last week that he plans to nominate public health expert Robert Otto Valdez to serve as U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).

ASPE is the principal adviser to HHS on policy development. For instance, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra’s recent Comprehensive Plan for Addressing High Drug Prices that gave a shout out to the 340B program came from ASPE. ASPE’s past work for the Secretary’s office on Medicare Part B drug spending trends has addressed the share of payments made to 340B hospitals and the recent deep cut in Medicare Part B drug reimbursement to 340B hospitals.

Hospital Expertise

Valdez, who has spent his career in academic posts as well as serving in the Clinton administration has a connection to the hospital world. He is Chair of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee, an American Hospital Association award “recognizing hospital and health systems that distinguish themselves in efforts to improve the health and well-being of everyone in their community. Improving population health requires moving beyond providing excellent healthcare to addressing the social, economic, environmental, and political factors that affect the health of our communities.”

He currently is a member of the Latino Corporate Directors Association and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Professor Emeritus, Family & Community Medicine and Economics at the University of New Mexico. He was also long-time board chair for New Mexico Community Foundation, a philanthropic grant making organization. 

During the Clinton administration, Valdez served in senior health care policy positions at the White House, HHS, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.