Caroline J. Berdzik, chair of the firm’s Health Care and Employment and Labor practices, was recently appointed Health Care Section Chair of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC), an exclusive, invitation-only international organization of civil defense attorneys in private practice, in-house counsel, risk managers, and insurance claim professionals.
A widely respected attorney and authority on issues affecting the health care industry, Caroline devotes a significant portion of her practice to helping health care clients—from small physician practices to national post-acute providers and medical transportation companies—with all of their legal needs. Drawing on previous experience as in-house counsel for New Jersey’s largest privately owned long-term care company, Caroline also dedicates a portion of her practice to counseling clients on the unique issues arising in this specialized sector of the industry, defending skilled nursing facilities and related entities in professional liability claims, employment law and human resources issues, and providing tailored risk management solutions.
Caroline has been a member of the FDCC for over three years. Membership for the FDCC is highly selective, and new members are elected by its board of directors upon recommendation from a stringent admissions committee. Current membership is slightly over 1,400 with members from the United States, Europe, Australia, and Canada.
In this Q&A, Caroline shares more insight on her health care background, reflections on her time with the FDCC, and a look ahead at her plans as Health Care Section Chair.
Describe your health care background.
I have been working with health care clients my entire legal career, from small physician practices to large nursing home and assisted-living providers, in the diverse areas of employment litigation and counseling, risk management, professional liability defense, and outsourced general counsel services. Prior to joining Goldberg Segalla, I served as the assistant general counsel for New Jersey’s largest privately held long-term care company that had skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living, hospice, home health, and long-term care pharmacy as part of its continuum. I am frequently called upon to speak and write on emerging topics impacting health care providers, especially those entities operating in the long-term care space.
What’s your role as chair of the Goldberg Segalla Health Care practice?
As chair, I work collaboratively with our team of lawyers to deliver high quality legal services and develop proactive solutions to minimize risk for our health care clients who function in a highly regulated and challenging environment. We develop processes to handle all types of claims, which take into account a specific and intimate knowledge of the client’s operations and business goals. We think outside of the box to come up with defense and settlement strategies to reduce liability and settlement values.
What’s your past involvement with the FDCC?
I have been involved with the FDCC for over three years. I am currently on the admissions committee, serve as chair of the Health Care section for 2019-20, and will return as one of the vice chairs of the professional liability practice group. I am also an active member of their employment section. I have also spoken at several of the FDCC’s conferences on emerging health care, employment, and risk management topics.
What does the FDCC do that sets it apart from other organizations?
FDCC is truly a family. It has stringent qualifications for admission that consider both lawyering and integrity, as well as tangible and intangible qualities. I am very proud to be part of an organization that stresses professionalism, camaraderie, and excellence.
What are your goals for your tenure as chair?
I want to follow in the footsteps of the former successful leaders of the group and continue to offer more opportunities for in-house and defense members to exchange ideas and develop cutting-edge programming for the section that appeals to all of our members. I would also like to increase membership and active participation in the group.
MORE ABOUT GOLDBERG SEGALLA’S HEALTH CARE PRACTICE:
Goldberg Segalla serves the special legal needs of clients spanning the entire health care industry, including the facilities that provide care, the professionals who administer that care, the insurers that protect facilities and professionals, and the makers of the products and technologies used for treatment of patients and residents.
Our Health Care team brings together the diverse and extensive experience of our attorneys in various legal disciplines—including several with professional backgrounds and previous experience inside the health care industry—who focus on serving the industry and understand the intricate commercial, medical, and liability issues involved. The team works collaboratively to draw on the full strength of the firm’s Employment and Labor, Management and Professional Liability, General Liability, Product Liability, Class Action Litigation, Corporate Services and Commercial Litigation, Workers’ Compensation, Cybersecurity and Data Privacy, and other practices to provide truly comprehensive counsel and defense.