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For Tavenners, It’s All In The Family

Hospital administrators have to deal with Medicare and Medicaid almost every day.

Not too many have their mom as head of the two government health insurance programs.

Matt Tavenner does.

Marilyn Tavenner is the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Matt, assistant administrator at Jackson Purchase Medical Center in Mayfield, Ky., is the son of Marilyn Tavenner, whom President Barack Obama in December nominated to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Jackson Purchase is one of 54 hospitals owned by Brentwood-Tenn.based LifePoint Hospitals.

Marilyn Tavenner, who joined the Obama administration in February 2010 and has served as acting administrator since December, mentioned her son, Matt, in a brief talk Tuesday before about 1,000 people at the Federation of American Hospitals conference in Washington. The federation represents for-profit hospital chains, including Nashville-based HCA, where Tavenner spent 25 years before becoming Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources in 2006.

Her experience as a nurse and administrator means she’s well aware of how government policies affect caregivers and hospital executives, Tavenner said. “I also have a son at LifePoint who texts me with what we screwed up in Washington,” she said. “It’s a reality check.”

Before getting his graduate degree in Healthcare Administration at Virginia Commonwealth University (also his mother’s alma mater), Matt Tavenner worked at HCA for nearly four years as a patient access director, according to his LinkedIn profile. He did not return a call for comment.