To say that Frank Rainer has variety in his position as senior vice president and general counsel for Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Florida, is an understatement. His work covers a wide range of topics, from contracts to employment issues to construction to real estate and litigation, as well as healthcare-related subjects such as medical staff matters, managed care, compliance, pharmacy, and licensing.
And that variety is one of the aspects he likes best about his job.
“In private practice, you’re always working on a specific, narrow project for a client, and here I can let my interests flow to whatever I want,” Rainer explains. “I also really like being with this management team. They are smart, they are talented, and they challenge me every day. They’re at the pinnacle of this profession, and it’s always great to work with people of that caliber.”
After graduating from the University of South Carolina and Florida State University College of Law, Rainer began his career as a real estate transaction lawyer in the late 1980s. A few years later, he started working with physicians and healthcare providers on real estate closings and practice issues at a law office in Tallahassee.
“I came back to start doing that part of healthcare, the transactional side,” he states. “With that, I quickly moved over to all of the regulatory aspects and never looked back from being a healthcare lawyer.”
Working in healthcare has allowed Rainer to pursue two areas of law that have long interested him. The first of those is transactional law. He’s closed thousands of transactions totaling more than $2 billion in deal volume of bank loans, acquisitions, M&A, and organizational formation. The healthcare sector has also provided him with the opportunity to engage in litigation through his work on regulatory hearings and other common matters that go to court.
Rainer’s career has also given him a front-row seat on the evolution of healthcare.
“When I got into healthcare law back in the late ’80s, there wasn’t really a designated area called healthcare law. It was still very much in its infancy,” he reflects. “So I really got in at the ground floor in the development of healthcare law. Fortunately, for me, timing is everything.”
With thirty-five years of private practice before joining Memorial Healthcare System, working on a wide variety of clients and situations, Rainer believes he positioned himself well to become an in-house counsel for a healthcare organization by continuing his education. He earned a master’s in taxation to bolster his credentials in nonprofit law and to study tax statutes affecting the industry. In addition, he completed both an MBA and a master’s in insurance and risk management to better understand the practical business aspects of the legal matters presented to him.
“I kind of set my career up to get a position like this,” he remembers.
Healthcare as a Long-Term Partner
In his position as SVP and GC, one important aspect of Rainer’s work is his commitment to Memorial Healthcare System’s mission to be on the cutting edge of healthcare delivery.
“After observing healthcare for thirty-five years, watching it grow into what it has become, I realized that there are different aspects of it,” he notes. “People get stuck in a rut and they say, ‘Well this is the way we’ve always done it; this is the way we’ll continue to do it.’ Healthcare does not lend itself very well to efficiencies or to real innovation in the distribution and delivery of healthcare.”
Rainer explains that while there have been great innovations in medical devices and treatments, the industry needs new methods of distribution. Rainer observes that there are two basic ways patients receive healthcare: by coming in voluntarily for annual checkups and treatments for colds and aches or by being brought to an emergency room after an accident or catastrophic event.
“Those really are the two ways that people get into the healthcare system,” Rainer remarks. “Healthcare has to change its mentality and recognize that we’re about lifetime care for individuals.”
“We’ve accidentally been delivering longevity. Now it’s time for us to recognize that and focus on longevity, not just healing, as the mission, and create a total product to deliver to people to achieve that.”
As a leader, it’s Rainer’s duty to instill a sense of innovation in his team to carry this mission forth. Currently, he manages thirty-seven full-time employees and has seven lawyers and four contract professionals working under him, and his responsibilities include overseeing Memorial Healthcare System’s risk, privacy, and insurance departments.
Rainer notes that his leadership philosophy is rooted in making his staff feel comfortable about expressing their thoughts and analyses on any issues or work they deal with.
“I want to use every brain that’s here to its fullest extent, and I want to get every idea possible that my staff has,” he observes. “The best way to say it is that I want an idea meritocracy.”
In his opinion, the healthcare industry needs to reconfigure itself and become a long-term partner with people throughout all phases of life, since longevity has increased dramatically due to advances in healthcare.
“We need to teach people how to live and pursue healthier lifestyles so that they can achieve longevity through their own actions through supplements, lifestyle changes, and preventive care,” he shares. “There are ways we can achieve even greater longevity for people if we had a healthcare system that was focused on making people aware of those and delivering those services to them.”
“There’s a great new frontier of business opportunities for healthcare,” he continues. “We’ve accidentally been delivering longevity. Now it’s time for us to recognize that and focus on longevity, not just healing, as the mission, and create a total product to deliver to people to achieve that.”
Fenwick & West congratulates Senior Vice President and General Counsel Frank Rainer for his visionary leadership at Memorial Healthcare System. Fenwick’s privacy and cybersecurity team, co-led by partner Jim Koenig, is a leader in HIPAA compliance and enforcement, cybersecurity, and consumer medical information protection in healthcare. Learn more at fenwick.com/privacy.
Stearns Weaver Miller advises healthcare clients on preventative practices as well as pre-suit, litigation, and appellate concerns. We have significant experience defending catastrophic wrongful death, medical malpractice, and professional liability and in licensing for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. Our trial lawyers are recognized locally, statewide, and nationally.