Tennessee BlueCross BlueShield chief elected AHIP board chair

The president and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has been elected to chair the board of directors of America's Health Insurance Plans, the insurance industry group announced Thursday. Vicky Gregg will serve as chair for the 12-month period that began July 1.

The choice drew bipartisan praise from Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who in 2004 appointed the former nurse to a National Institutes of Health commission tasked with developing a strategy for building a nationwide electronic health records network.

"Having had the privilege of working with Vicky in the past, I’ve always been impressed by her firm grasp of the complex health care issues facing America today," Frist said in a statement. "As a strategic thinker, she sees the big picture and has a strong sense of how it all works together. As a proven industry leader, she brings a fresh and innovative perspective to the table. I’m confident that Vicky will be a great asset to AHIP, and by extension, America’s health care system."

"Vicky becomes Chair at a critical time as our industry works to implement the new health care reform law in a manner that will minimize disruption for the 200 million Americans our members serve and help bring new people into the system," added AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni. "Her leadership skills and wealth of experience will be a great asset as our Board continues its work on the accessibility, affordability, and quality of health care."

Gregg succeeds Jay Gellert, President and CEO of Health Net Inc., based in Woodland Hills, Calif.