Vice President, Medicare

Commonwealth Fund | Flexible, New York or Washington, DC



The Commonwealth Fund – among the first private foundations started by a woman philanthropist, Anna M. Harkness – was established in 1918 with the broad charge to enhance the common good. Today, the mission of The Commonwealth Fund is to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, and people of color. The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. An international program in health policy is designed to stimulate innovative policies and practices in the United States and other industrialized countries. The Fund has an endowment of $750 million, and an annual budget of $36.5 million.


For over five decades, Medicare has helped older adults and people with disabilities obtain the health care they need while protecting them from severe financial hardship. The Commonwealth Fund’s Advancing Medicare initiative identifies ways in which this crucial program―the largest single payer of health care services in the United States―can serve its beneficiaries more effectively and efficiently while helping to foster health system improvements nationwide.

Medicare has enormous capacity to leverage broader change in U.S. health care. Nearly 60 million people over 65 and disabled Americans access care through the program, which accounts for a large and growing share of the federal budget (the government spends $700 billion on Medicare benefits annually, accounting for over 18 percent of total federal non-interest spending). And with the creation of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Medicare plays a critical role in the development, implementation, evaluation, and spread of innovative models of health care organization, delivery, and payment—not only for Medicare, but for other federal and state health insurance programs as well as private payers. The Fund and its grantees will examine how Medicare can:

  • Improve access to affordable care needed by people over 65 and those with disabilities.
  • Increase simplicity to ensure that beneficiaries are able to navigate the choices and options available to them through Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D.
  • Restrain the growth of federal program costs.
  • Improve coordination between Medicare and other public programs, particularly Medicaid.
  • Drive improvements in other areas of the health system through innovations in care delivery and provider payment.

Job Summary

The Commonwealth Fund seeks a senior-level policy expert with deep knowledge of and experience in Medicare to oversee the Fund’s Medicare portfolio and coordinate with other program areas and initiatives within the Fund that have implications for Medicare and its beneficiaries, providers, and participating plans.


Within the Fund, the program staff originates and manages the individual projects for grants that are made by the Fund. Reporting to the Executive Vice President for Programs and working closely with other program staff across the Fund, the Vice President is responsible for:

  • Development of strategy and program plans for Advancing Medicare initiatives.
  • Maintaining a view of developments and policy initiatives within the Medicare program as well as a solid understanding of the current research literature as it relates to Medicare 
  • Development of new projects (some of which may be in partnership with other priority/focus areas of the Fund), including identifying prospective grantees and working with prospective grantees to improve project design.
  • Management of grants including drafting payment and reporting schedules, tracking the current status of projects through ongoing contact with grantee principal investigators; reviewing grantee interim and final deliverables, including papers/articles for publication.
  • Development of briefing materials, policy briefs and journal articles for Fund or outside publication.
  • Preparing talks and presentations to disseminate the Fund’s work in Advancing Medicare.
  • Supporting program staff in the planning of advisory committee meetings and policy roundtables.
  • Representing the Fund at meetings and conferences.
  • Working with the executive vice president for programs and other senior program staff on cross-cutting issues and other program areas as needed. This work may include participating in the internal review of reports for possible Fund publication in all Fund program areas.
  • Working with the Fund’s communications office in the presentation and dissemination of project findings to the media and other interested parties.

The Vice President is also a team member of the Fund’s other programs and initiatives. As such, the Vice President is expected to actively participate and contribute to the activities of these programs – and to coordinate with senior program staff on initiatives that cut across program areas.


Ideal requirements include a doctoral degree or equivalent (Ph.D., J.D. or M.D.) in a field related to health services research or health policy or health economics. Minimum of eight years related work experience with demonstrated senior health policy experience, involving knowledge of and experience working with government and organizations at the state and national level. Strong background in health insurance coverage and policy, health services financing and delivery issues, quality improvement and efficiency, managed care, availability of and access to care. Health policy and research analytical skills including ability to summarize and present information from different sources, including quantitative sources. Strong coordination and project management abilities as well as the ability to collaborate with other senior program staff on areas of joint program interests and priorities. Well organized with concern for details, accuracy and deadlines. Ability to set priorities and work with a minimum of supervision. Excellent written and oral communication skills. Excellent interpersonal skills: capable of being a team member as well as a team leader. Willingness to participate in general workflow of office.

The Fund has a relatively small staff, and collaboration, judgment, integrity, and the ability to listen with sensitivity to others are traits that are particularly important in an organization of the Fund’s size, where teamwork is essential to effectiveness. The ability to work collegially with a variety of Fund staff and interest in and strong commitment to the Fund’s mission and grants programs are key qualifications.  


Commensurate with background and experience. The Fund offers a generous benefits package (medical/dental insurance, life/disability insurance, pension plan, tuition reimbursement, and ample vacation).


Employment at The Commonwealth Fund is based upon personal capabilities and qualifications without discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation/affection preference, gender identity, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, medical condition, disability, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter (including salary expectations) and resume with the subject line “VP, Medicare – Your Name” to Tonya Woodland, Assistant Vice President of Administration at

Commonwealth Fund