Jennie Orrico – GE HealthCare
As Jennie Orrico raced to the hospital where her husband was in the emergency room, she felt that time was moving like molasses—until her husband texted he’d be getting a necessary scan on a GE HealthCare machine.
Orrico says the peace she felt during this health scare underscores the importance of her work at GE HealthCare, as well as the necessity of legal work in the healthcare industry more broadly.
“I love looking at any of our products and knowing that it’s daily impacting someone’s life for the better—and what could be more satisfying and fulfilling?” asks Orrico, who became the chief compliance officer for GE HealthCare in October 2019.
The multibillion-dollar company manufactures devices like MRIs and machines that can perform x-rays and ultrasounds. GE HealthCare’s pharmaceutical diagnostics business even develops and sells contrast agents used for imaging. The healthcare portion of GE was so significant that, earlier this year, GE HealthCare completed its spin-off from GE and began trading as an independent company.
Orrico and her team oversee and implement the healthcare compliance program, which includes overseeing GE Healthcare’s adherence to anti-bribery, anti-corruption and other regulations globally.
“Compliance gives GE HealthCare a competitive edge, especially when my team and I are looking out for risks—and how to mitigate them—before taking product to market anywhere in the world,” Orrico says.
A global, round table of compliance
To help employees learn the laws and GE HealthCare’s ethics and compliance policies, the company has held ethics weeks or days in its different locations—but not one global version open to all locations at the same time. In 2022, Orrico helped launch the first Global GE HealthCare Ethics week, which included people from across the company regardless of their country of work.
Separate from the global ethics week, during the fourth quarter 2022 ethics week in the U.S., she helped lead panel discussions, engaged guest speakers and held local events around the world. She even played a role in recording speakers and panels, which could be viewed virtually by all employees during the event or after it.
The week’s theme, Ethics Everyday, included topics such as ethical fading (or self-deception), ethics and integrity in times of change, and the meaning of ethics to employees. As part of the week, she and her team also set up local and regional on-site activities where employees met with leadership and compliance personnel to further engage on the topics.
“Global ethics week was really wonderful because it allowed us to address these issues on a wide scale and get a bird’s eye view,” Orrico says.
During ethics week and throughout the year, she also has had leaders and managers present to employees and departments. For instance, a leader in the sales department once discussed how the team walked away from a deal because the other party’s ethics did not align with those of GE HealthCare.
For Orrico and the rest of the compliance team, this kind of transparency is essential, and one way to let people know they can come to anyone on her team about current or potential compliance issues without fear of retaliation through their Ombuds program.
“The overall goal of everything I do is not just compliance but to get people talking, to start conversations, so that everyone has a better understanding of what compliance is and why it is so important for our company’s success,” Orrico says.
From television court rooms
When Orrico was eight years old, she may not have envisioned working at GE HealthCare, but she did already have her sights set on a law career. As a child, she loved watching divorce court and learning the ways that lawyers could help people.
“My friends always say, ‘thank goodness you became a lawyer because that’s all you talked about as a child,’” Orrico tells Vanguard with a laugh.
After graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in international affairs and political science from Marquette University, she started at DePaul University College of Law, a place she chose for its health law program, only one of three such in the country at the time. While she knew she wanted to be a lawyer, she wasn’t quite sure what kind—until she took a seminar addressing compliance.
When researching for her end-of-seminar final presentation, she discovered the intersection of compliance and healthcare. During her time at DePaul, she was executive editor of the Law Review, in which she published some of her work and became a writer for the university’s Health Law Journal.
After graduating in 2000 with her law degree and a certificate in health law, she became an associate at the Ungaretti & Harris firm and spent the next half decade representing hospitals, health systems and physician practices in various regulatory, compliance and general counsel matters.
For the following 15 years, she gradually earned more responsibility and handled legal, compliance and risk matters on a global scale with a medical equipment manufacturing company that started off as Baxter before going through a spin-off and two major acquisitions. In 2019, she had a chance to join GE HealthCare and, familiar with their products and reputation, jumped at the opportunity.
Throughout her 23-year career, she’s remained in the healthcare space because she can see the fruits of her labor, she says.
“People are always touched by healthcare, and I get a great sense of pride and satisfaction that my career revolves very tangibly around helping people and positively impacting their lives,” Orrico says.
View this feature in the Vanguard Spring I 2023 Edition here.
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