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The standard U.S. Office of Government Ethics form filled out by Dr. Berwick instructs nominees to list all positions held outside of the government, but instructs nominees to exclude positions “solely of an honorary nature.”

Neither the White House announcement of Dr. Berwick’s nomination nor the ethics filing makes clear the honorary nature of the positions.

The White House announcement states, “Dr. Berwick currently serves as President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and is a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.”

The White House further described Dr. Berwick as “Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Health Care Policy at the Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.”

“He is also a pediatrician, adjunct staff in the Department of Medicine at Boston's Children's Hospital and a consultant in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital,” the announcement stated.

Dr. Berwick has won broad support from health care groups such as the American Hospital Association, AARP and the Catholic Health Association, among others. He’s also been endorsed by previous CMS administrators from Democratic and Republican administrations.

“Through his work at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Don has led a movement to engage hospitals, doctors, nurses and other health care providers in the continuous quest to provide better, safer care,” the American Hospital Association announced in a statement shortly after Dr. Berwick’s nomination.

But Republicans have raised questions about Dr. Berwick, pointing to his past writings and speeches. Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, has called him a “known advocate of government rationing of health care,” while supporters say critics have taken Dr. Berwick’s words out of context.

Dr. Berwick would be in charge of implementing many of Mr. Obama’s health care reforms. He also would have a lot more responsibility, for a lot less money, than his current job at IHI.

As CMS administrator, Dr. Berwick would be paid $165,300 per year and oversee an agency with a budget of about $800 billion.

During 2009, Dr. Berwick received a base salary of $509,600, a $88,200 bonus and $275,849 in deferred compensation through a contribution by the institute to a special supplemental executive retirement plan. IHI has approximately 130 employees, according to IRS filings. Officials at the institute say Dr. Berwick’s compensation plan was approved by a board, based on comparable positions and reviewed by lawyers and auditors.