Leadership Profiles
Joe Johnson Joe Johnson
Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Johnson has 27 years of experience primarily in the information systems technology field with a focus on Medicare and health insurance applications, infrastructure, and systems security. Mr. Johnson is a 22 year veteran of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and Palmetto GBA and has worked in support of the companies Medicare contracts throughout this entire period. Mr. Johnson has held a variety of leadership positions in the company in which he successfully managed performance and growth within Palmetto GBA. Most recently, Mr. Johnson served as the Vice President, Systems and Support for Palmetto GBA. A Columbia, SC native, Mr. Johnson graduated from Midlands Technical College and the University of South Carolina. He is active in the local community, coaching youth sports for 12 years and serving on several school improvement councils and the Richland 2 Gifted and Talented Foundation board. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands and Midlands Technical College foundation.

Joe Wright
Vice President
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Wright has 38 years of business experience and 17 years of health care experience. He has been licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in South Carolina for 36 years. Mr. Wright is responsible for all financial functions at Palmetto GBA including the receipt and disbursement of Medicare Trust Fund dollars. Mr. Wright is a graduate of Bob Jones University.

Mike Barlow
Vice President
Mr. Barlow has over thirty five years of health service industry management experience with progressive leadership responsibilities within the healthcare provider industry, with seventeen of those years in Medicare contractor operations. Mr. Barlow works closely with Palmetto GBA’s clinical and leadership staff to integrate operational, technical, and clinical elements and to establish effective controls, coverage and policy elements. Mr. Barlow oversees two national contracts, the National Supplier Clearinghouse and the Railroad Retirement Board Specialty Medicare Administrative Contractor. Mr. Barlow graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Nella Bishop
CIO & Vice President
Systems & Support
Ms. Bishop has over 19 years of experience in Information Technology and Systems. As the CIO and Vice President of Systems and Support, Ms. Bishop provides strategic guidance in the design and development of new technical initiatives to support Palmetto GBA’s strategic business programs. She has oversight responsibility for Palmetto GBA’s Systems and Support Division providing technical services in support of all Palmetto GBA contracts as well as directly to the Federal Government and other external business entities. The Palmetto GBA Systems Division consists of over 400 technicians, software engineers and architects, analysts and technical support personnel. Ms. Bishop is a graduate of Columbia College and the George Institute of Technology with a Master of Science in Computer Science. Before joining Palmetto GBA, Ms. Bishop held a number of leadership positions in the technology industry, specifically the telecommunications and high-tech sectors.

Neal Burkhead
Vice President
of Compliance

Mr. Burkhead is the Vice President of Compliance for Palmetto GBA. In his capacity as Compliance Officer, Mr. Burkhead oversees and manages the Palmetto GBA Compliance group and actively encourages and enforces adherence to the corporate code of conduct and to all ethical, legal, regulatory, and contractual requirements and obligations. Mr. Burkhead promotes a culture of compliance as a part of day-to-day operational activity.

Mr. Burkhead is responsible for overseeing and approving the annual risk assessment and internal control review processes, as well as the identification, monitoring and reporting of identified deficiencies and corrective action plans. In addition, Mr. Burkhead coordinates and oversees education, training and awareness initiatives related to these topics.  Mr. Burkhead provides information and guidance to Palmetto GBA senior management and the Board of Directors Compliance Committee.

Elaine Garrick
Vice President
Support Operations
Ms. Garrick has over 19 years of leadership and managerial experience within the health care industry, and 23 years of Medicare administrative experience. She oversees the Medicare Competitive Bidding Implementation contract. She received a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the National Project Management Institute, Inc., a 1998 graduate of Leadership Columbia and a 2009 graduate of Leadership South Carolina. She has also served on the board of directors for many nonprofit organizations over the years.

Ed Sanchez
Vice President
Jurisdiction M A/B MAC Operations
Mr. Sanchez serves as Vice President of Operations and is the JM Program Manager responsible for the oversight and administration of Palmetto GBA’s Jurisdiction M A/B Medicare Administrative Contract (JM A/B MAC) in the states of North and South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia as well as the Regional Home Health and Hospice contracts for a sixteen state jurisdiction. These responsibilities encompass a broad range of functions including claims processing, customer service, appeals, medical policy, provider enrollment, provider outreach and education, provider audit and reimbursement and medical review.  Mr. Sanchez has over 28 years of professional experience and over twelve years leading Medicare Integrity Program functions in Medicare Part A/B and Durable Medical Equipment environments. A licensed Attorney, Mr. Sanchez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Haverford College, a Juris Doctor from Temple University, and a Masters in Business Administration from Drexel University.  Mr. Sanchez also earned a Master’s certification in Federal Government Contracting from George Washington University. 

Carol Sutton
Vice President
Shared Services
Ms. Sutton has over 30 years of industry experience. As Vice President of Shared Services, Ms. Sutton is responsible for JM A/B MAC appeals, pricing, document control, claims, and FOIA requests as well as facility support. She leads operations in Columbia, Camden and Florence, SC; Columbus and Wheelersburg, Ohio; and a small team in Augusta, Georgia. Ms. Sutton is a graduate of the University of Delaware and earned her Master's Degree from the University of North Carolina. Prior to joining Palmetto GBA, Ms. Sutton held a number of leadership positions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, primarily with government business at the state level. Her management experience includes call centers, appeals, claims, document operations, membership and billing, medical review, project implementation and account management.

last updated on 12/07/2015