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Jimmy Carroll’s move from the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas, to become general counsel at Scott & White in Temple was like going home. Carroll says his ancestors settled in Temple in 1866, and he was born in the hospital in 1948. So it only seemed fitting to celebrate his 50th birthday in January 1998 by accepting an offer from Scott & White. “When you turn 50, you’ve got to do something really crazy, so I changed jobs,” Carroll says. Carroll says that when Scott & White offered him the job, it meant new challenges and a way to end his almost daily commute between Austin and Temple, where he maintained his home. “Quite candidly, it would get me off I-35,” Carroll says, referring to the interstate that he had to travel on the 60 miles between Austin and Temple. The new job entailed representing Scott & White’s 485-bed hospital, which serves as a teaching campus for the Texas A&M University College of Medicine; the Scott & White multispecialty group practice clinic; and its health plan with approximately 187,000 members, mostly in Central Texas. The hospital, clinic and health plan are all nonprofit, tax-exempt corporations, Carroll says. Soon after his arrival, Carroll found himself deeply involved in Scott & White’s restructuring, which he says began in 1998 and was completed in September 2000 with the merger of the hospital and clinic. Likening his role in the restructuring to that of a mediator or counselor, Carroll says it was his job to keep everyone in the same room talking to one another. “It was kind of like a lawyer representing an estate where you had three brothers. Although the three brothers loved each other, they were fussing over who would get the sterling silver and who would get the power tools,” Carroll says. “The highest service I rendered was to help everybody realize what they really had in common and resolve the minor difficulties,” he adds. Carroll is particularly proud of the simplified document, which effected the merger. In 1950, when Scott & White reorganized and the stock owned by its doctors was transferred to the hospital and its foundation, a 71-page contract was required, Carroll says. The reorganization in 2000 was effected with only a two-and-a-half page contract, he notes. “There’s no question that [Carroll] was integral to the success of the restructuring,” says Dr. Al Knight, Scott & White’s president and chief executive officer. Carroll spent a lot of “one-on-one time” with key people in the corporation to understand and address their concerns, Knight says. Knight says Carroll has the ability to understand the entire corporation and to convey his understanding to Scott & White’s leadership. “He’s extremely well respected for translating the legalese into strategies for us,” Knight says. The ability to translate legal jargon into something that’s understandable probably comes natural for Carroll, who grew up around the legal profession. His father, Joe Carroll, was a solo practitioner who represented the city of Temple and the Temple Independent School District board and was a municipal court judge. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law in 1972, Carroll practiced with his brother, also named Joe Carroll and Gerald Brown in the now-defunct firm of Carroll, Carroll & Brown in Temple. Carroll’s brother was the Bell County attorney and a district attorney and currently is the 27th District Court judge in Belton. In 1984, then-Gov. Mark White appointed Carroll to the 3rd Court. Carroll was elected as chief justice of the court in 1990. He ran for the Texas Supreme Court in 1994, winning the Democratic primary but losing in the general election to Republican Priscilla Owen. “I really loved being a judge,” Carroll says. “When I had the chance to make the change [to Scott & White], part of the attraction was that it was a continuation of public service.” Mack Kidd, a justice on the 3rd Court, says he gives Carroll “the highest marks” for the job he did as the chief justice. “He was able to accomplish so much by consensus, and he was a great delegator,” says Kidd, who served with Carroll from 1990 until January 1998. One of Carroll’s greatest strengths, Kidd says, is his “ability to digest copious amounts of paperwork” — a talent that he says should serve Carroll well at Scott & White. “He’s the best I’ve ever seen at being able to digest a huge amount of material and extract the essence of that material,” Kidd says. TRAINING GROUND Carroll says his work at the court of appeals was “wonderful experience and training” for his job with Scott & White. “Every week I had to do something different at the court,” he says, noting that the 3rd Court has criminal and civil jurisdiction and also handles all the state’s administrative law cases. According to Carroll, his job at Scott & White also involves him in a variety of tasks — everything from drafting and reviewing contracts to negotiating the intricacies of federal health care laws. “Health care in modern times is probably the most regulated industry you can imagine,” he says. “Everything you do reduces down to, are you inadvertently violating a federal regulation?” Because of all the regulations, even simple purchases can become anything but simple for a hospital, Carroll says. Buying 10 X-ray machines for a hospital is much more difficult than buying 10 bulldozers for another entity, he says. Knight says that a substantial amount that happens in regulation at the state and federal level can affect Scott & White “almost on a whim.” Two years ago, when the Center for Medicare Services came out with a new interpretation of Medicare’s wage index, the salaries of many on Scott & White’s staff were not included, Knight says. That interpretation would have greatly affected the hospital’s reimbursement for the care provided to Medicare patients, the CEO says. He credits Carroll with putting together a coalition of health care providers who succeeded in getting the matter reviewed. Carroll says the interpretation of the wage index that had been pushed by Medicare authorities would have excluded from the calculations the wages of Scott & White doctors, who are employed by the clinic. The way the index was being interpreted could have cost Scott & White as much as $20 million annually, he says. Scott & White went through “exhaustive surveys” to show what its doctors do all day long, Carroll says. In the end, he says, Scott & White was able to show all the work that the doctors do for Medicare patients and include more of their salary in the wage index. But Carroll declines to take credit for the turnaround in the interpretation of the index. By the time the matter was finally resolved by Medicare authorities in October 2002, many people had worked on it, he says. As general counsel, Carroll also oversees the work of the three attorneys in the general counsel’s office and two attorneys in the risk-management department, but he says he usually doesn’t personally handle much of the trial work. The risk management attorneys manage litigation for the hospital, which also employs outside firms from time to time, Carroll says. “I kind of ride shotgun,” he says. “He’s an excellent leader,” says Lisa Havens-Cortes, who has been an attorney in the hospital’s risk-management department for the past three years. “He encourages and gives guidance, but he doesn’t micro-manage,” she says. But while Carroll allows a younger attorney to “grow and spread your wings,” he always remains available when needed, Havens-Cortes says.

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