Stuart Vogelsmeier still carries a 1979 ticket stub in his wallet from the game in which baseball great Lou Brock drilled his 3,000th hit.
“I love all things Cardinal,” said Vogelsmeier, a native of St. Louis County.
He also loves all things Lashly & Baer, where he’s spent a three decade-long career in health care law. In 2019, fresh off a recent elevation to executive vice president of the firm’s board, he now has another accomplishment to celebrate: the completion of Lashly’s five-year strategic plan.
The new blueprint comes at an ideal time, arriving on the heels of a restructuring of leadership roles that installed Lisa Stump as president in charge of day-to-day operations, while Vogelsmeier assumed his present job that deals with longer-term planning issues.
“We thought that, especially with the transition not only to the new leadership group but the new division of duties, it was really important for younger lawyers in the firm to see that even though the longtime leadership had transitioned that we had a plan not only for the viability of the firm but for growth and continued success of the firm,” he said. “I think in our first two years we’ve established that.”
The new strategic plan seems to be proof that they have done just that as the firm clarified its long-term goals — a conversation that attorneys aren’t always eager to have.
“[People] say they don’t like to sit down and talk about these things, but I think they really do,” Vogelsmeier said, “and they feel much more comfortable if they feel everybody is rowing in the same direction and everybody’s on the same page.”
Vogelsmeier’s expertise in his area of practice has been on display as well. During the summer of 2019, he organized a health care advisory team that assists clients with emerging issues, which might include anything from privacy concerns to the opioid crisis. A big focus is the increased reach of regulatory probes.
“The government at both the state and federal level has allocated an incredible amount of resources to fight fraud, which is a good thing,” Vogelsmeier said. “No good health care provider wants there to be fraud going on, but there are so many resources and aggressive tactics that some very innocent folks are being investigated for what most people used to think were common everyday practices.”
Helping with the business side of the health care industry is nothing new for Vogelsmeier. The Washington University graduate loves to help his clients to develop their own strategic visions. This year, he wrapped up work on the sale of Resource Optimization & Innovation to HealthTrust. The matter consummated 18 years of representation for the former company, a subsidiary of Mercy Health, for whom he’d done work from the beginning. He called the experience bittersweet.
“I did the whole lifecycle of that client and really enjoyed that work,” he said.
When Vogelsmeier isn’t working to mold his firm’s vision for the future, he said he loves helping clients to find their own. He recalled one instance in which he assisted a Chicago dentist who evolved his operation to include 23 offices.
“When people think of health care, they think of medical-malpractice suits, which is one aspect, but these days from the business side, there are an awful lot of health care providers, doctors and dentists who are entrepreneurs,” Vogelsmeier said.
It is all about having a strategic perspective.
“I think I do a pretty good job of communicating benefits and risks that I see to my clients to allow them to make decisions,” he said. “Instead of talking at my clients, I think they’d say that I talk with them.”