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Bevin Selects Louisville Lawyer To Lead Health Cabinet

Gov. Matt Bevin
J. Tyler Franklin
Gov. Matt Bevin

Governor-elect Matt Bevin has named Vickie Yates Brown Glisson as the next administration’s secretary of Health and Family Services.

Glisson is a health and health insurance attorney for Louisville law firm Frost Brown Todd. She’s also the chief executive of the business incubator Nucleus, which is part of the University of Louisville.

Bevin announced the appointment on Thursday. In a statement, Bevin said Glisson’s appointment is one of the most critical decisions he will make as governor.

“Kentucky is consistently ranked as one of the least healthy states in the country,” Bevin said.

“We have one in four of our citizens enrolled in Medicaid and the financial costs to the commonwealth are growing exponentially," the governor-elect said. "We must be innovative in our efforts to improve health outcomes for Kentuckians, but do so in a prudent and sustainable manner. I am highly confident that Vickie is the right person to lead this effort.”

Bevin has promised to rollback Kentucky’s expanded Medicaid system, which has added over 400,000 Kentuckians to the state’s health insurance rolls. Bevin says his administration will come up with a replacement system that will require enrollees to pay into the system. He's also vowed to end the state's health insurance marketplace, Kynect, and transition to the federal exchange.

Both Medicaid and Kynect will be part of Glisson's portfolio.

“I look forward to working with stakeholders as, together, we find solutions to the challenges facing Kentucky families, the health care industry and our most vulnerable citizens,” Glisson said in a statement.

The cabinet oversees wide range of state government agencies, including child protection, public health and foster care.

As president and CEO of Nucleus, Glisson has advised the University of Louisville in the areas of health, life sciences and research, according to Bevin’s transition team.

Nucleus is an “life sciences initiative” created by the University of Louisville Foundation, the non-profit that manages U of L’s $1.1 billion endowment.

Glisson is a past chairwoman of the American Bar Association’s health law section.

Glisson has a long history of working with state government in advisory roles. She chaired a task force appointed by former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer examining health care issues in rural Kentucky. She also headed a health care task force for the Louisville Chamber of Commerce in the late 1990s.

She served on a task force appointed by former Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher that reviewed Kentucky’s merit system laws, which ultimately recommended that personnel law violations made by Fletcher and his staff constituted misdemeanors.

Glisson will replace outgoing Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes.