There’s a lot more to Mary Link, Akron Children’s new vice president and general counsel, than meets the eye.
Link has been practicing exclusively in the area of healthcare law for more than 20 years and has spent the majority of her career working for the Akron law firm of Brouse McDowell in its health care practice group. While with Brouse, Link provided legal services to Akron Children’s, particularly in the areas of compliance, regulatory affairs and reimbursement.
“Mary brings a tremendous depth and breadth of legal experience to Akron Children’s,” said Shawn Lyden, executive vice president. “She is well known to the executive and administrative teams at Children’s and has already hit the ground running.”
Link reports to Lyden, who served in the role of general counsel until January 2010.
While Link has extensive legal experience in health care law, she also brings significant nursing and advocacy knowledge to the table as well.
After graduating from Marquette University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing, Link went to work at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, formerly Milwaukee Children’s Hospital.
“I really loved nursing and working in pediatrics,” said Link.
Link moved to New York and worked in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s pediatric unit while attending graduate school at New York University (NYU).
While at NYU, Link took some courses in health care policy and advocacy. “I really liked the legal issues around health care and research,” said Link. “A professor suggested that I combine my interests and pursue a law degree.”
After receiving her master’s degree from NYU, Link moved to Illinois where she worked at Children’s Memorial in Chicago while pursuing a law degree with a specialty in health care law from Loyola University.
“My nursing background has been really helpful because I can communicate with providers and payors,” said Link. “I understand how things work in a teaching institution and the importance of providing quality bedside care.”
In her role at Akron Children’s Link is responsible for corporate compliance and risk management, in addition to overseeing all of the hospital’s legal affairs. Her areas of interest include fraud and abuse, regulatory and reimbursement matters, patient care and consent issues, and licensing and medical staff.
Recently, Link and her family moved from Wisconsin, where she had a home-based office with Brouse, to Hudson. Link has four children; Eleanor, 13; Joe, 14; Madeline, 17; and Charlie, 19. Her daughter Madeline has cystic fibrosis and is majoring in biology at the University of Wisconsin.
“As the parent of a child who has a serious chronic condition and has been hospitalized, it gives me a different perspective,” said Link. “I know what it’s like to be a parent of a sick child and it gives me insight to appreciate what other parents are going through.”
Link is excited to be at Akron Children’s and is already familiar with many employees and the hospital’s culture.
“It was important to me to be part of a mission driven nonprofit provider rather than an outside advisor,” said Link.
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