ANN ARBOR, Mich. — An attorney with roots in Michigan and experience at an integrated health care system similar to the University of Michigan’s has been approved by the Board of Regents to be the next head of the U-M Health System’s legal office.
Gina Bertolini will become a U-M associate vice president and deputy general counsel, a position reporting to the university’s top attorney with responsibility for advising the leaders of UMHS on legal matters. Beginning July 15, she will oversee a team that handles the many complex legal issues that arise in a health system that cares for a wide range of patients, performs advanced medical research and educates the next generation of physicians and medical scientists.
Bertolini, who grew up in a Detroit suburb, returns to Michigan after several years at the University of North Carolina Health Care System, where she served as assistant general counsel for the health system as well as legal director for the UNC Physicians Network, a physician-led organization with primary care and specialty practices in nine North Carolina counties.
Like UMHS, the UNC Health Care System is a not-for-profit, university-owned health care system that includes hospitals and outpatient locations, a medical school with a group practice for its faculty physicians and extensive research portfolio, and training programs for medical students, resident physicians and others.
“Gina’s experience in an academic medical setting, combined with her expertise in health care transactional and regulatory matters, and her ties to our state, make her an excellent choice to head our health system’s legal office,” says Timothy G. Lynch, U-M vice president and general counsel. “I know she will partner well with the UMHS leadership team, and the Health System Legal Office team, to provide wise counsel.”
Lynch thanked Debra Kowich and Gordon Beeman for serving as Acting Deputy General Counsel. “Our large, dynamic and ever-changing health system has a continuous need for excellent legal services, as it grows and anticipates change in health care policy, regulation and research oversight,” he says. “Debbie and Gordon have been terrific and ensured we kept that level of service high.”
While at UNC, Bertolini was closely involved in structuring a unique joint venture between UNCHCS and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina: a model practice demonstrating the “patient centered medical home” concept and responsible for managing the health care of 5,000 chronically ill residents of two counties.
UMHS is a leader in developing such “population health” approaches to care, which aim to improve the quality and appropriateness of care for patients while also containing cost growth.
“With her highly relevant experience in an academic medical setting, we are thrilled to welcome Gina to our university and health system, and look forward to working with her,” says Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., U-M executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of UMHS.
Before joining UNC, Bertolini was an attorney in the health law practice group of K&L Gates, an international law firm with a national health law practice. She received her undergraduate degree from DePaul University, and her law degree from the University of California Hastings College of Law, where she earned high honors and was elected to The Order of the Coif, an honorary distinction for top graduates. Bertolini was also selected by her law school peers and professors as the National Association of Women Lawyers’ Hastings law grad of the year, and she was a recipient of the Tony Patino Fellowship at Hastings.
After law school, Bertolini accepted a federal clerkship in the Middle District of Florida, where she clerked for the Honorable Elizabeth A. Jenkins, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
The associate vice president and deputy general counsel position reports to the vice president and general counsel and has a dotted-line reporting relationship to the executive vice president for medical affairs, who serves as CEO of the U-M Health System. As she did in her UNC roles, Bertolini will counsel senior UMHS leadership on business issues, negotiate long-term joint venture and affiliation contracts, and advise UMHS teams on governance, risk management, medical records and health care reform issues.