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Mark D. Birdwhistell, Vice President for Administration & External Affairs for UK HealthCare

Mark D. Birdwhistell currently serves as the Vice President for Administration and External Affairs for the University of Kentucky HealthCare. In this capacity, he provides executive leadership in administration and strategic direction across the clinical enterprise, collaborating effectively with physicians and other leadership of the healthcare team. Mr. Birdwhistell is also responsible for the development and oversight of UK HealthCare, clinical outreach and development initiatives including clinical co-management approaches.  In addition he provides direction and oversight to marketing and public relations.  He represents UK HealthCare at the local, state and national levels, and serves as a national speaker on healthcare policy and Medicaid reform efforts.

Prior to this position, Birdwhistell served in senior leadership roles in both the private and public sectors, including Secretary for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Chief Executive Officer for CHA Health. He has over 30 years’ experience in healthcare, with specific expertise in Medicaid policy.

During his tenure as Cabinet Secretary, Birdwhistell received recognition from the federal government, advocacy organizations and the national media for his role in the design of Kentucky's progressive Medicaid modernization agenda. He also championed and secured passage of legislation for social worker safety reform and promoted efforts to improve services for Kentucky’s aging population.

As CEO of CHA Health, a regional health plan serving 100,000 members, Birdwhistell led the troubled health plan through a successful financial and operational turnaround.

Birdwhistell has received numerous awards for his achievements in the area of healthcare and disability rights, and has been published on topics such as private payer strategies, aging and independent living, and Medicaid. Most recently he has co-published chapters in Stop Paying the Crooks: Solutions to End the Fraud that Threatens Your Healthcare, and the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 editions of Health Law & Compliance.           

Birdwhistell was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Pikeville College of Osteopathic Medicine, May 2008.  He earned his Master of Public Administration from the University of Kentucky Martin School for Public Policy and undergraduate degree from Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky.