President and CEO
CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield
As if overseeing a billion-dollar company and 5,400 employees weren’t enough, Chet Burrell has steered CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield – the region’s largest health insurance company – through significant financial and regulatory challenges over the past 10 years.
His first task was to keep the company afloat during one of the nation’s biggest economic depressions. The company overhauled its antiquated information technology system – just in time to implement the changes health care companies were required to make under the Affordable Care Act.
Burrell has also reaffirmed and strengthened CareFirst’s commitment to its nonprofit mission of becoming a leading corporate philanthropist in the region. As a result, CareFirst has invested more than $448 million in health care initiatives that provide access to care through grants and public access programs.
He also encourages employees to get involved in their communities. In 2016, the company completed its most successful associate giving campaign, collectively raising more $1.4 million for United Way organizations. Associates also logged more than 18,000 volunteer hours in support of charitable initiatives.
Burrell is also credited with the creation of CareFirst’s Patient-Centered Medical Home programs that promotes close working relationships between members and their primary care provider. The model, now widely used across the nation, allows primary care providers financial incentives and supports better coordinated care for patients with serious and costly health problems.
Under Burrell’s leadership, CareFirst has been named one of the best places to work and has received accolades including “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign, WorldatWork’s 2017 Seal of Distinction for creating a positive work environment, and the Chesapeake Human Resource Association’s 2017 James W. Rouse Diversity Award.
Burrell says his business motto is simple: “Dare much and do it.”