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Justin Richman Recognized for Proactive Approach to Legal Counsel

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — March 29, 2019 — 4 min read
As Senior Associate General Counsel for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, Justin Richman's job is to protect and defend the organization especially when there's litigation, but he's taking a different approach to legal counsel that ultimately helps members as well as the organization.

“Whereas many legal departments in organizations often focus on solving problems after they've occurred, our (Office of General Counsel) OGC tries to be proactive and come up with solutions," Richman said. “In collaboration with the other departments and business units, I try to use my expertise to help support creative solutions that allow us to best support our members, and ensure we are doing so in the right way."

Richman has contributed to that approach by changing the way he works, meeting with members of other Cardinal Innovations' teams to help solve problems before they end up in court.

“I have really been reinventing my role to try to figure out where I can be most effective in providing guidance to the organization. Most recently, I've been trying to find ways to conduct more retrospective reviews of situations to identify opportunities for improvement," Richman said. “Organizationally, we have always been very reactive – and those kinds of situations ultimately bubble up to me in the form of litigation. I want to be more proactive to try to prevent some of these situations from bubbling up."

Richman joined Cardinal Innovations' Office of General Counsel in 2011. His job has evolved over time, and it's difficult to describe a typical day, he said. 

“Ultimately, my responsibility is to protect and defend the organization. I manage the majority of Cardinal Innovations' litigation. I also serve as a legal and ethical advisor to Cardinal Innovations' member-focused departments – Medical, Clinical Operations, Member Engagement, and Care Coordination," he said.

Leesa Bain, Cardinal Innovations' Vice President of Care Coordination, Quality Management and Transitions to Community Living has worked closely with Richman on several initiatives. 

“He is solution focused and is a problem solver. He always makes time to work alongside of you. He is extremely collaborative as a partner," she said. “I have great confidence in working with him on initiatives. He is an excellent team player and seems to have a hunger for learning and developing himself – always eager to learn and develop."

Part of that desire to continue to grow has involved becoming more self-aware of both his strengths and his weaknesses as well as how he's perceived by others, Richman said.

“As I have grown as a leader, it has been truly humbling to see the influence I can have on others in our organization. I feel a responsibility to use that influence to help drive positive change and help support our staff in the critical work they do every day," he said.

Richman said one of his current projects, working with Julia Clodfelter and McKenzie Whalen, is a Lean Six Sigma initiative surrounding crisis cases. Lean Six Sigma is a business method that involves a team working together to improve performance by removing waste and becoming more efficient at generating positive outcomes.

“What we are trying to do is improve internal communication about “hot" cases to ultimately best improve member outcomes.  Often as an organization we operate very reactively, and we're trying to change that.  Clear communication and access to information will allow our leaders to be able to best support our staff on the ground, which will in turn help free up resources so we can more proactively, efficiently, and effectively support our members," Richman said.  

“We welcome anyone with ideas about how to best do this to share them with us."

Richman, like many of Cardinal Innovations' employees, has personal experiences that influence his drive to do his best for members. “My personal experiences, though certainly different in nature, have helped to give me a greater understanding and appreciation for the work that we do and the people we are trying to support."

Richman earned his Juris Doctor in Law from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2010. He returned to Wake Forest and earned a Master of Arts in Bioethics in 2017. In 2020, Richman expects to earn his Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to his graduate studies, Richman earned a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies from the University of Miami.  

“When I was in law school, I knew I wanted to get into healthcare, though I admittedly did not have an understanding of what that entailed," he said.  

Richman said the people he works with at Cardinal Innovations inspire him daily to keep working to help those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness or substance use disorders.

“At the end of the day, I know that we have a lot of passionate, brilliant people in all roles of the organization," he said. “It is inspiring to see the work that we can do and the difference that we can make in people's lives."
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