Karen Harris was placed as senior vice president and general counsel for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, which represents more than 200 hospitals and nearly 50 health systems at the local, state, and national levels. Since the IHA was formed in 1923 (and combined with the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council in January of 2016 to create an integrated, statewide organization), its mission has been to strengthen and unite hospitals and make high-quality, affordable health care available to all Illinois residents at the right time and in the right setting. The IHA advocates for a redesigned health system and sustainable funding, including new models of healthcare delivery and payment that support the triple aim of health care, and its Midwest Healthcare Institute provides innovative business and performance solutions, services, and tools, including patient care and quality improvement initiatives and collaboratives, data analytics, purchasing, and insurance services. The IHA also provides a comprehensive portfolio of educational programs for members on critical healthcare issues and challenges. In her role, Karen will serve as the chief legal officer for the Association, as a member of the senior leadership team, and as a senior advisor to the president, providing legal advice, guidance, and representation to the IHA and its related entities with respect to business, transactional, governance, regulatory, policy, advocacy, and compliance matters, and serving as the IHA's chief compliance officer.
Karen comes to the IHA from Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, a full-service law firm in Chicago, where she was a partner. With 15 offices in eight states and the District of Columbia, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr's more than 400 attorneys serve businesses throughout the United States and internationally, representing large corporations, start-ups, closely held and privately held companies, and nonprofit, governmental, and educational entities. Karen's focus was healthcare regulatory and transactional work, with clients that included hospital systems, physicians, IPAs, ambulatory surgical centers, managed care companies, pharmaceutical companies, and HMOs. Her assignments ranged from drafting physician employment agreements, asset and stock purchase agreements, management services agreements, and other contracts, to advising clients on healthcare regulatory issues such as corporate practice of medicine, Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse, Stark, HIPAA, fee-splitting, antitrust, certificate of need, national practitioner data bank and patient rights, healthcare compliance programs, and reproductive law. During her tenure, she was able to increase business in the practice through giving presentations, writing articles, networking, and sitting on various organizational boards, and successfully supervised and mentored associates.
Previously, Karen served as a supervising attorney at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law; as a partner at FSB Legal, representing various healthcare entities in transactional and regulatory issues; as an attorney in the healthcare practices of various firms in Chicago; and as the Midwest regional general counsel for Aetna U.S. Healthcare and Prudential Health Care Plans.
Karen is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association, the Black Women Lawyers Association (and its Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms), the Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys, and the Chicago Bar Association (and its Health and Hospital Law Committee). In 2017, she was named to Crain's list of "Most Influential Minority Lawyers in Chicago," and in 2018 received Chicago Business Journal's "Women of Influence" award. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Princeton University and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School. Karen is an almost lifelong Hyde Park resident who is very active in leadership of the Jackson Park Yacht Club.