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Health Care Organization: Robin Foster

robin-fosterSenior Vice President/General Counsel

The Children’s Mercy Hospital

When Robin Foster started his legal career, he quickly found that he most enjoyed transactional law.

“It just developed,” he said. “I felt I was pretty good at it and enjoyed it. I just kept on doing it, seeking and obtaining business from clients to do that kind of work.”

Today, Foster uses that experience as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of The Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where he oversees the legal work associated with the direction, strategic planning and operations of the hospital.

Children’s Mercy is one of the country’s top academic pediatric health systems, boasting two acute care hospitals and additional primary- and specialty-care clinics. The system has more than 8,000 employees.

Foster graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1982. After graduating from law school, he joined Husch Blackwell in Kansas City, where he worked as an associate, then partner, for nearly 31 years.

In that role, he focused his practice primarily on transactional work such as mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and corporate governance.

Foster said he went to work for the hospital in 2013 after first serving as its outside counsel for the sale of Family Health Partners, a managed-care company, to Coventry Healthcare during 2011 and 2012.

During his time with Children’s Mercy, Foster said he is proud to have grown his legal team from two attorneys to five attorneys, with plans to hire a sixth in the coming months.

He said he also is proud of his work to assist the hospital as it developed a network of private doctor practices that are affiliated with the hospital.

“These are like your regular family pediatrician practices, and we’ve affiliated with nine different groups throughout the Kansas City area,” he said

The affiliation process has involved sophisticated legal work between the parties, Foster said.

“It’s more than branding — we own the corporations that are those practices. It’s more than just a branding agreement, it’s a real affiliation and integration,” he said. “These practices have substantial independence in terms of determining how they will run their practice.”

The past year has also been a busy one for Foster — he has counseled hospital leadership on strategic planning as the system’s chief executive officer retired in August and one of its co-chief operating officers resigned.

In his five years with the hospital system, he said he’s seen Children’s Mercy open a heart-transplant program, expand its roster of physicians to more than 800 and increase its research work.

“It’s been a very rewarding phase of my career to be able to be involved in and to contribute to the growth of an organization like this,” he said.

Foster says he could not have realized his accomplishments on his own; his staff — both attorneys and non-attorneys — have played a role as well.

“[They’re] very hardworking, very capable, very professional, and any success that I have is built on the fact that there’s a very dedicated team effort here at Children’s Mercy,” he said.

 

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