Every business sector has influential players, whether they are in the public eye or wield their influence behind the scenes. In a monthly feature that runs in the first issue of the month through October, IBJ is identifying those people in eight industry categories.
This month, IBJ zeroes in on Health Care and Benefits. No sector of the economy has a greater impact on the fate of our personal lives and our business futures than health care and its attendant benefits. And in an era when some segments of the economy are shrinking, this segment continues to pop off its buttons, with the individuals below molding the shape of our health care future. They include health care administrators, benefits experts, insurance executives, doctors doing groundbreaking work, attorneys, CPAs and policymakers.
Edmund R. Abel, 55
Director of Health Care Services,
Blue & Co. LLC
Ed Abel joined Blue & Co. in 1985 and was named to his current position in 1988. Blue & Co. is ranked as the 56th-largest CPA firm in the United States and has the largest dedicated health care staff in the Indiana-Kentucky-Ohio market. Abel helps direct more than 125 employees in the Indianapolis, Louisville and Columbus, Ohio, offices.
Following his graduation from Indiana University, Abel joined an Indianapolis accounting firm and found himself doing auditing and reimbursement consulting for health care entities. In 1982, he joined Methodist Hospital as director of finance, where he was responsible for accounts payable, Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement and reporting, federal and state tax reporting, budgeting, strategic planning, cash management services, preparing the hospital’s financial statements, and compliance with external agencies.
Since joining Blue, Abel has obtained his MBA from Indiana University and assisted in growing the company’s practice. He was instrumental in opening the offices in Louisville and Columbus, Ohio. Previously, Abel served on Blue’s executive committee for eight years, including six as chairman.
Abel is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Indiana Association of Certified Public Accountants. He was previously a member of the National Principles and Practices Board of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and is a prior president of the Indiana chapter of that group. He served as chairman of the board of MDWise (Indiana’s largest HMO in terms of number of enrollees) and served as finance committee chairman of Fairbanks Hospital and as a member of the Health Finance Advisory Committee of the State Health Finance Commission.
Sheri Alexander, 52
Senior Vice President,
Gregory & Appel Insurance
Sheri Alexander serves as the senior vice president and employee benefits department manager for Gregory & Appel. Founded in 1884, the insurance company offers employee-benefits, commercial, risk-management and personal insurance and prides itself on being the oldest and largest independently owned insurance agency in the state.
Alexander has 31 years of experience in the employee benefits consulting and brokerage field. She has been involved in mergers and acquisitions in both health care and manufacturing markets and has represented Taft-Hartley employers at the bargaining table. Before joining Gregory & Appel in 2005, she spent 15 years with Marsh & McLennan, a national brokerage firm, where she held a variety of positions, culminating as regional senior vice president for health care. Before that, she was with Gardner & White, a national brokerage firm specializing in hospital employee benefits programs.
Alexander is active on the boards of the Little Red Door Cancer Agency, the Cancer Support Community Central Indiana, United Healthcare Children’s Foundation and Gregory & Appel. She is also on the advisory boards of Anthem and United Healthcare. She is a long-standing member of the local and national Certified Employee Benefits Specialist chapters as well as of the state and national associations of health underwriters.
In 2011, Alexander celebrates her eighth year as a breast-cancer survivor. She is a regular on the Indianapolis Komen Foundation Race for the Cure Pink Honor Role (top 100) fundraisers. Alexander and her husband, Mike, live in Fishers near their daughter and her husband.
Lee Ann Blue, 55
Executive Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer,
Wishard Health Services
Lee Ann Blue is gearing up for the transition to the new Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital, scheduled to open in December 2013, while still managing all her current duties at Wishard Health Services. Blue is preparing to apply best practices and innovations to the new hospital to ensure that it is a wonderful place for patients, families and the future work force of the new facility.
Before joining Wishard, Blue was in a nursing leadership role at Deaconess Health System in Evansville. Before that, she served as vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer for Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. She started as a staff nurse in the cardiac intensive-care unit and progressed to a senior executive at the 1,000-bed academic medical center.
Blue received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from McKendree College in Illinois and her master’s degree in nursing from Southern Illinois University. In addition to working in health care, Blue has served as an adjunct faculty member at several schools, including the University of Southern Indiana and the Indiana University School of Nursing.
Blue is an active member of several organizations, including Central Indiana Organization of Nurse Executives, Indiana Organization of Nurse Executives, Indiana Nursing Workforce Development Center and Nursing 2000. Blue and her husband, Ron, have four sons and three grandchildren.
Angela F. Braly, 50
Chairwoman President and CEO,
Listed as one of the most powerful women in America by Fortune magazine, Angela Braly has led WellPoint since being named president and CEO in June 2007 and chairwoman in 2010. WellPoint, the nation’s largest health benefits company in terms of medical membership, covers about 34 million—or one in nine—Americans through its affiliated plans. In 2010, WellPoint generated operating revenue in excess of $57.8 billion and employed about 37,500.
Under Braly’s leadership, WellPoint has diversified its business portfolio to offer more innovative and comprehensive health solutions. The company has expanded its integrated care management programs and tools, divested its prescription benefits management business to Express Scripts Inc., increased transparency through the Anthem Care Comparison tool, and measured progress in improved quality of care through its Member Health Index.
Before taking her current position, Braly served as executive vice president, general counsel and chief public affairs officer for WellPoint. In this role, she was responsible for public policy development, government relations, legal affairs, corporate communications, and marketing and social responsibility initiatives. She also managed WellPoint’s National Government Services subsidiary.
Earlier, Braly was president and CEO of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri. She joined Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in January 1999 as general counsel. Before joining the company, she practiced law with the firm of Lewis Rice & Fingersh in St. Louis.
Braly serves on the boards of Procter & Gamble Co., the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the National Institute for Health Care Management. She is a member of Business Roundtable and the Business Council.
Born and raised in Texas, Braly earned her undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University and her law degree from Southern Methodist University Schoolof Law.