There is within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services a center to carry out the duties described in paragraph (3).
Such center shall be headed by a director who shall report directly to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The Secretary shall ensure that the center is carrying out the duties described in paragraph (3) by not later than January 1, 2008.
The Secretary may employ, within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, such individuals as management staff as the Secretary determines to be appropriate. With respect to the administration of parts C and D, such individuals shall include individuals with private sector expertise in negotiations with health benefits plans.
Subject to subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall establish the rate of pay for an individual employed under paragraph (1). Such rate shall take into account expertise, experience, and performance.
In no case may the rate of compensation determined under subparagraph (A) exceed the highest rate of basic pay for the Senior Executive Service under section 5382(b) of title 5.
The Secretary shall appoint within the Department of Health and Human Services a Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman who shall have expertise and experience in the fields of health care and education of (and assistance to) individuals entitled to benefits under this subchapter.
To the extent possible, the Ombudsman shall work with health insurance counseling programs (receiving funding under section 1395b–4 of this title) to facilitate the provision of information to individuals entitled to benefits under part A or enrolled under part B, or both regarding MA plans and changes to those plans. Nothing in this paragraph shall preclude further collaboration between the Ombudsman and such programs.