Chet Burrell, MPA Chairman
Chet Burrell has had a long career in leadership positions in the government, nonprofit and for-profit sectors of the US healthcare system. Since late 2018, Mr. Burrell has served as Founder and Managing Member of Silavon Healthcare Holdings, LLC which seeks investment partnerships with private equity and venture investors in promising health care companies performing…
Chet Burrell has had a long career in leadership positions in the government, nonprofit and for-profit sectors of the US healthcare system. Since late 2018, Mr. Burrell has served as Founder and Managing Member of Silavon Healthcare Holdings, LLC which seeks investment partnerships with private equity and venture investors in promising health care companies performing cutting edge work in precision medicine, new diagnostics and treatments as well as value based health care financing models.
From late 2007 to mid-2018, Mr. Burrell served as President and Chief Executive Officer of CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield, the largest health insurer and health benefit services company in the Mid-Atlantic region covering 3.4 million members concentrated in the Maryland, District of Columbia and Northern Virginia market segments, but with substantial membership spread throughout the United States. In 2018, the company generated approximately $15 billion in annual revenue and had the highest commercial market share in the region (>50%) by a wide margin – while serving 27,000 employer groups and hundreds of thousands of individual subscribers and their families.
During his leadership of the company, Mr. Burrell led a massive technology upgrade (over $2b), overhauled the company organizational structure and management team as well as modernized product and service offerings. The core company strategy was based on one of the largest and longest serving patient centered medical home programs in the United States. Mr. Burrell personally led the design, roll out, operation/expansion and technical underpinnings of this program and authored its extensive, written Program Guidelines. The Program substantially slowed the rise in health care costs for all of CareFirst’s individual subscribers and employer group customers.
While CEO, Mr. Burrell also spearheaded targeted equity investments by CareFirst in both mature health care technology/service companies as well as earlier stage companies with promising new technologies or products in the health field. These investments, which were carried out through the Healthworx Program he initiated, approached $100 million in invested capital and provided a cumulative IRR exceeding 30 percent.
During his tenure with the company, Mr. Burrell was the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions including Most Admired CEO of a large company (twice), Innovator of the Year (2016) and ICON Award winner for long standing leadership and impact in the health field in Maryland. Mr. Burrell was inducted as a member of the Hall of Fame for business leaders in the greater Baltimore area. This award recognizes the most impactful community/business leaders whose sustained contributions and impact to the larger community over their careers merit this recognition.
Over the years, Mr. Burrell has Chaired or been a board member of many organizations in the healthcare field including Chair of the Committee on Affordable and Quality Healthcare (CAQH) – a US wide organization representing all major commercial and non-profit payers in the US, Executive Committee member of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), and a Board Member of the National Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to name a few.
Prior to joining CareFirst, from early 2002 to late 2007, Mr. Burrell was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of RealMed Corporation. At the time, Realmed was an emerging, investor backed company that provided extensive online revenue cycle management services to providers throughout the United States with a concentration on the MidWest and East Coast. Under Mr. Burrell’s leadership, RealMed became a leading health care payment related transaction clearinghouse that served as a bridge between all types of providers and all government and commercial payers in the United States.
Over the five years that he led the company, RealMed’s revenue quadrupled and the business moved from deep loses to profitability. This was achieved through design and development efforts he led resulting in sophisticated online services to providers that enabled real time claims adjudication (a first in the health industry) as well as virtually instantaneous responses to providers for a range of patient eligibility, claims status inquiries and payment results from all payers. In so doing, it better enabled providers to understand the patterns in their service billings and, thereby, helped them to operate at higher levels of efficiency and financial performance. The company was acquired by Availity – a leading provider of revenue cycle management services owned by several Blue Cross Blue Shield plans and commercial payers..
Before joining RealMed in 2002, Mr. Burrell was Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Novalis Corporation, a groundbreaking venture backed managed care and health-technology company that offered operational, technical and intellectual property support to provider-sponsored healthcare provider networks – enabling them to offer the “Novalis Program.”
This Program enabled provider networks to offer incentive based health coverage plans directly to employers and individuals in various regional/state markets around the US. The Program also offered strong incentives to primary care providers to control cost – leading to greater overall efficiency and quality improvements. This was the predecessor model to his work with CareFirst on its patient centered medical home program.
Mr. Burrell developed the company from the idea stage to full operation during the 1990’s. The company was capitalized through a syndicate of private equity firms resulting from fundraising efforts led by Mr. Burrell. By the time Mr. Burrell sold Novalis to TriZetto in late 1999, the company was profitable and supporting nearly a dozen regional health networks involving dozens of hospitals, thousands of doctors and was serving approximately 800,000 members.
Earlier, in the mid to late 1980’s, Mr. Burrell served as Executive Vice President of Associated Insurance Companies of Indiana (AICI), the predecessor organization to Anthem BlueCross BlueShield. In this capacity, he exercised leadership of the managed care and HMO operations of the company and oversaw new innovations in health care financing. Anthem became the largest Blue Plan in the nation and today operates on a for-profit, publicly traded basis.
Prior to his role with AICI, in the early to mid 1980s, Mr. Burrell was President of the Albany Division of Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which, at the time, was the nation’s largest non-profit health insurer serving over 10 million members. Among his responsibilities was leadership of plan-wide managed care initiatives and HMO operations. Mr. Burrell co-led the effort to create Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield through merger of two New York State based Blue Plans, one of which he headed as described immediately below.
Prior to his Empire experience, in the early to mid -1980’s, Mr. Burrell was President and CEO of Blue Cross of Northeastern New York, serving a million subscribers in Upstate New York just above the New York City line. He was the youngest ever CEO of a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan (age 34) in the nation and oversaw a major transformation of the company’s products, management and technological framework while greatly expanding its charter and scope of operations under State law and regulation.
Mr. Burrell started his career in New York State Government in the 1970s. During a 10-year career with state government in New York, he rose from a young intern (as part of an accelerated leadership program for a small, highly selected class of Master’s degree prepared candidates) to various senior-level positions including:
Executive Deputy Commissioner for the New York State Office of Mental Health with day to day leadership of this multi-billion dollar agency with 39,000 employees and a multi-billion annual operating budget;
Deputy Director for New York State Office of Health Systems Management with oversight of State policy making operations and provider rate regulatory functions governing all public and commercial payer reimbursement to hospitals, nursing homes and clinics in New York State; and Senior Member of Governor’s staff with a focus on fiscal and budget matters related to health policy and regulation governing Medicaid and commercial/private health coverage in New York State. This often required extensive connection to and coordination with OMB and HHS at the federal level.
Mr. Burrell lives with his wife, Elizabeth, in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.