KHC Member Spotlight: Sharron Burton

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Sharron Burton
Department of Employee Insurance, Personnel Cabinet, Commonwealth of Kentucky

Job Title: Deputy Commissioner

Member of KHC for: I became a member in August, 2020. However; the Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan (KEHP) has had membership representation for several years.

What KHC committees have you participated? PMAC Cost, Utilization, and Experience Subcommittee; PMAC Chronic and Acute Care Subcommittee; Executive Committee

Provide a brief description of your job: Prior to August, I was the attorney for the Department of Employee Insurance, providing legal advice related to employee benefits. As of August 1, I am the current Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Employee Insurance, managing various vendors and programs that provide health insurance, life insurance, dental and vision coverage, pharmacy benefits, and well-being services for the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s public employees, approximately 300,000 covered lives.

What are you currently working on that you are most excited about? How do you think it will drive improvements to health and healthcare in the community?

KEHP is currently working on an obesity study. We believe obesity is prevalent in the KEHP population, and treatment is mostly ignored. Currently, we are working on how to improve obesity-related data, how to extract obesity diagnoses from available data, and how to improve current programs aimed at treating diabetes.

What do you see as the biggest threat to our community’s health? How do you feel it needs to be addressed?

Affordability. Annually, KEHP sees medical and pharmacy trends growing. To keep up with the pace of cost growth, the Plan must annually consider benefit changes and premium, deductible, and coinsurance increases. Direct contracting with providers and pharmacy manufacturers would likely help lower cost. However, the feasibility of direct contracting is questionable.

Why do you think a multi-stakeholder coalition like the KHC is needed in the community?

The players that provide healthcare are in silos. In silos, purchasers, payers, providers, employers, and insureds don’t have much regard as to the impact their decisions, services, and cost of services have on each other. KHC is an opportunity for players in the healthcare system to discuss impacts and solutions.

What is your favorite quote?

If you keep doing what you’ve done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve gotten.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to do tile and yard work. For both hobbies, it’s about seeing the beauty of the finished product.

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