Kati Brady – Radiology Partners
Kati Brady isn’t selling herself short when she refers to herself and her colleagues in corporate labor and employment law as glorified human resources personnel. On the contrary, she’s emphasizing just how essential the human element is in advancing an enterprise.
“One of the most important things for a labor and employment attorney to do is to build relationships and understand people,” Brady says. “It’s more so than for any other attorney. In this position, you have to have compassion and empathy and a deep understanding of how people work.”
Especially so, she goes on to say, when the enterprise is so vital to the public’s well-being. The 33-year-old Brady, having recently celebrated her first anniversary as assistant vice president and assistant general counsel at Radiology Partners, referred to internally as “the Practice” and “RP.” This being a leading physician-owned and operated radiology practice, she knows well the challenges faced by the Practice, as well as others in the healthcare sector.
“There simply aren’t enough radiologists for the work that needs to be done,” she tells Vanguard in September while in Las Vegas at RP’s annual recruiting event, Transform. “They’re burning out. We saw many veteran radiologists retire early because of COVID.”
Thus, her employer is challenged on two fronts: recruiting and retaining. As the new head of Radiology Partners’ labor and employment law division, Brady’s doing her part to help the Practice hire an additional 750 radiologists by year’s end. By late summer, she says they’re well past the halfway point.
As for how Brady aids the process, it’s on multiple fronts. Before she joined the team, Radiology Partners had been on an acquisition spree, growing substantially with more than 3,250 sites under its umbrella. Now, following such rapid growth, the focus is on operational excellence and anticipating what’s next. This requires Brady to not only stay abreast of the labor and employment laws in all 50 states in which the Practice operates but also to have a deeper understanding of the business needs of the Practice and balance those needs with the law.
“My ability to read people and understand their goals and motives play a huge part in getting the job done,” she says. “I know when to lead a room or when to sit back and listen.”
Though not scientifically trained, Brady’s picked up much about medical science since her previous in-house role at Sentara Healthcare, one of the largest health systems in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, and among the top 20 largest not-for-profit integrated health systems in the country. She’s learned to speak the same language as radiologists and their clinical staff and isn’t shy about introducing herself and inquiring about their concerns, which include what implications artificial intelligence might have on their livelihoods.
AI won’t phase them out, Brady says. Instead, the tools RP and others are developing in the radiology community support and enhance the impact of radiologists’ diagnostic power in helping them expedite patient treatment and improve the quality of care by flagging acute anomalies in real-time.
“The overarching goal is making it easier for the radiologists to practice, which helps the healthcare community at large,” she says.
Whereas many traditional radiologists and physicians must be on-premises, RP has many employees, including radiologists, who work full-time remotely. Technology and remote working arrangements afford more workplace options, and Brady wants all angles considered in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest.
Thus, Brady will keep pursuing her long-term goal to develop, maintain and pave a lane of her own in terms of labor, employment and HR, and doing so in a way that’s functional and accessible while mitigating risk for the Practice. According to Brady, it’s all part of serving an organization with a higher calling than the bottom line or investor satisfaction.
Professor knew the score
Brady wasn’t always attracted to the law. Math and computer science were her first majors at Hood College, where she also starred on the women’s lacrosse team. Then came her junior year, part of which was spent in Australia studying political science.
“Maybe I’ll be a paralegal,” she thought. But that bar was raised by who Brady calls her best mentor, a former prosecutor turned associate professor of law and criminal justice named Teresa Bean, who encouraged the student to be all she could be.
After graduating from Hood, Brady enrolled at the University of Baltimore School of Law. After passing the bar, Brady remained local in the DMV area, serving as a litigation associate at Franklin & Prokopik, followed by Whiteford, Taylor and Preston, where Brady was able to cut her teeth with real-world, first-chair litigation experience in both defense liability and labor and employment matters. By now, she was making a name for herself in labor and employment law, but something seemed unfulfilling.
“I wanted to know and understand my clients before they needed my help,” she says. “I wanted to help them mitigate risk and see potential issues before they came to me saying they were sued.”
Even at this stage, Brady understood the meaning of fostering relationships and felt adamant about putting her passions and talents in a much larger role.
She got her wish in February 2021 when Sentara Healthcare hired her as an assistant counsel at its Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters and, one year later, promoted her to associate general counsel. Though that’s a prestigious post for any young lawyer, she wanted less of a generalist role and one more immersed in labor and employment and found that opportunity at Radiology Partners.
Although, until recently, she was a one-woman show in the labor and employment lane, she never felt that alone.
“I’m surrounded by some of the greatest lawyers I’ve ever encountered and am so grateful to be able to work with and learn from them,” she says. “The leadership is unparalleled, and I feel privileged to be around these people.”
Teamwork’s essential to any task, says the former lacrosse star who, along with other post-collegiate players, belongs to a Tidewater club that raises funds for scholarships for local high school students. Ever the physical fitness fanatic, she also runs marathons. Life’s good, she says, in Virginia Beach, where she works remotely from a home shared with her Navy Reserve pilot husband and their toddler son.
But there being much on the Radiology Partners integration front, some of her playtime might be compromised. Any corporate lawyer, she says, can’t get by on the law alone.
“It’s not just knowing the law,” Brady says. “It’s also understanding the business and the needs so you can balance those in your determinations.”
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