When healthcare insurance giants need a strong leader in compliance, they call on Blair Todt ’94.
This summer, Todt was appointed senior vice president and chief legal officer of Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the nation’s largest customer-owned health insurer and the fourth-largest health insurer in the country. At HCSC, Todt oversees management of the Chicago-based company’s legal division, supervising litigation functions, acting as liaison to regulatory agencies, and providing consultation on legal matters affecting the company.
Todt said he is thrilled to join HCSC and is ready to take on the myriad challenges facing large healthcare insurers today. He previously was senior vice president, chief legal and administrative officer and secretary of WellCare Health Plans.
Todt joined HCSC after a career in compliance work, primarily in the healthcare industry, where he has earned a sterling reputation for his expertise and leadership. Before WellCare, Todt was senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary for Medcath, Inc., a healthcare provider that focused on cardiac care; deputy general counsel for BearingPoint, a management and technology consulting firm; and a partner in the Albany, N.Y.-based law firm Carter Convoy Case Blackmore Maloney and Laird.
But healthcare wasn’t always Todt’s career focus. He started out in the communications field after earning his B.A. in political communication from The George Washington University. He then spent two years at a Washington, D.C.-based media consulting group before coming to Brooklyn Law School.
“It was always the plan to get my law degree,” he said. “I was interested in litigation—the pure application of facts to a set of rules and the intellectual stimulus of thinking through problems was the attraction to me. It’s hard to shake that.”
At the Law School, Todt developed an interest in litigation—he was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society, participated in the Judicial Clinic and spent a summer working in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
“My professors—particularly Arthur Pinto, Gary Schultze, and Richard Allen—prepared me to be a professional and a lawyer, not just someone who knew the law,” said Todt. “I have a pragmatic view of how to solve problems, and that is from my professors. The Law School brought to bear more than just academic experience; it gave me real-world experience.”
Following graduation, Todt clerked for the Hon. Constantine G. Cholakis in the Northern District of Albany, and then joined the Albany-based law firm of Carter, Conboy, Case, Blackmore, Maloney & Laird. There, he became a strong litigator, trying a variety of cases—employment, products liability, medical malpractice, civil rights, and false arrest. He made partner in 2001, and began representing one particular healthcare client so regularly that when non-litigation matters came up, he was the go-to person.
“At the time we didn’t know what compliance was, but I started doing what we would now call investigations,” said Todt. “Looking into the company’s exposure, helping them mediate and mitigate risk, thinking about long-term planning relative to challenges, and setting up best practices. What I realized on a personal level was that I liked working with clients on matters beyond just getting sued.”
Todt left Carter Conboy in 2005 to become deputy general counsel, litigation and compliance at the consulting company BearingPoint LLC (formerly KPMG). One of his first assignments was to respond to a grand jury subpoena.
“I met with the U.S. Attorney and I was looking to show them how we train, to show them our hotline, and I realized we didn’t have any of that,” he said. “We didn’t have a compliance program.” Todt set out to create one. He sent a list of two dozen questions to the company’s attorneys around the globe and then began building a comprehensive, integrated compliance program. “I never even knew that this area of governance existed and it was just fantastic,” he said.
In 2007, he was recruited to build the legal and compliance departments at MedCath. Three years later, he joined WellCare, a Tampa, Fla.-based company that focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services. By 2014 he was leading the entire legal department. That is when HCSC came calling.
“HCSC is an opportunity to bring all my experience with audit, compliance, and business development together,” Todt said. “I am working at the intersection of the regulatory framework and business, where I can drive healthy outcomes for our members.”
—Andrea Strong ’94