Bevin appoints Louisville health lawyer Vickie Yates Brown Glisson secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Vickie Yates Brown Glisson

Gov.-elect Matt Bevin has appointed Louisville lawyer Vickie Yates Brown Glisson to oversee the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which employs about 7,500 people statewide and includes the state’s Medicaid program and human service agencies.

“The appointment of the secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is one of the most critical decisions I will make as governor,” Bevin said in a release announcing Glisson’s appointment. “We have one in four of our citizens enrolled in Medicaid and the financial costs to the commonwealth are growing exponentially. 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, who will be inaugurated Dec. 8, has vowed to scale back the expansion of Medicaid eligibility that allows those with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line to join the program, and to dismantle Kynect, the state’s health insurance exchange, which is also in the cabinet.

The Courier-Journal reports Bevin also “has his sights on the cabinet’s Department for Community Based Services, which oversees social services, including foster care and adoption in Kentucky,” In an interview earlier this year with The Courier-Journal, Bevin called the department ” “a convoluted, backward, broken, machine,” citing the unsuccessful experience he and his wife, Glenna, had trying to adopt a foster child in Louisville.

Glisson is a health insurance lawyer with the Louisville law firm Frost Brown Todd, where she specializes in health care, health insurance law, government affairs, informatics and mediation. She is the past chair of the Health Law Section of the American Bar Association. She was named president and CEO of Nucleus, an economic-development arm of  the University of Louisville, in 2008 and advised the school about health, life sciences and research. Glisson served on the Advisory Council for the Human Genome Project and National Institute of Diabetes, Digestion and Kidney Disease.

“Vickie Yates Brown Glisson brings a wealth of experience to her new position as Secretary. We look forward to working with her in exploring innovative approaches to assuring access to affordable quality care and improving the health of Kentuckians,” Susan Zepeda, President/CEO, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said in a statement.

Sheila Schuster, a longtime advocate for health care, told The Courier-Journal that “she believes Glisson is “very bright” and familiar with health law, but also noted that this top cabinet job comes with a “huge learning curve” and she hopes Glisson is willing to benefit from the experience of others.”

Glisson lives in Louisville with her husband (Ret.) Col. Shawn D. Glisson, an oncologist and hematologist with Norton Healthcare in Louisville. She is a native of Spencer County,

“It is an honor to serve my home state and Gov. Bevin,” Glisson said in the release. “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.”

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