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UW Medicine has named attorney James S. Mathis as its new chief compliance officer. Mathis, who begins Feb. 20, will replace retiring chief compliance officer, Sue Clausen.

In his new role, Mathis will be responsible for guiding the UW Medicine compliance team to help move clinical care, training and science forward while navigating today’s heavily regulated healthcare environment.

“One of the things about healthcare compliance in 2018 is that it’s never boring,” says Mathis. “But while it’s really challenging and dynamic, it’s also energizing.”

Mathis says what drew him to UW Medicine was its reputation and its commitment to healthcare and the community. “The focus on regulatory compliance and the groundwork that has been laid by Sue Clausen and her team are so superior,” said Mathis. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to move into a world where I don’t have to explain what compliance is, and to join a tremendous organization that already has a world-class compliance program in place.”

Clausen was UW Medicine’s first chief compliance officer, serving for more than 13 years. Along with her compliance team, she created the first system-wide compliance infrastructure, incorporating new entities like Northwest Hospital and Valley Medical Center as they joined the system. Clausen’s team oversees compliance with all applicable healthcare laws and regulations governing more than 27,000 employees across UW Medicine’s eight entities. Clausen’s contributions will be recognized at a farewell celebration on March 1.

For the past five years, Mathis has been the chief compliance officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, which includes an 1100-bed hospital, more than 2,400 providers, ancillary businesses and an academic research enterprise. While at Vanderbilt, he established an institution-wide process and platform designed to harmonize policies, procedures and protocols. He embedded compliance officers as consultants in key operational areas, led a response to government audits, redesigned audit-response protocols, and supported the medical center’s legal separation from Vanderbilt University.

Before Vanderbilt, he worked as the chief compliance officer and the senior compliance counsel for Omnicare, Inc., an institutional pharmacy based in Covington, Ky., servicing more than 1.4 million elderly in the United States and Canada. He also served as vice president of compliance operations for Fresenius Medical Care in Waltham, Mass., which specializes in renal dialysis for 85,000 patients, and the deputy general counsel for Gambro, Inc., in Denver, and Gambro Healthcare, Inc. in Nashville, specializing in kidney function and blood technologies for 45,000 patients.

Mathis also worked as a healthcare compliance consultant to companies in transition, as a lawyer for Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis, a leading healthcare law firm based in Nashville, and as a private attorney. Mathis received his law degree and bachelor’s degree in classical languages (Greek, Latin) and history from Vanderbilt.

In Seattle, Mathis says he and his partner Stephen – and their standard poodle, Charlemagne — are looking forward to learning about our dynamic, growing city. An avid walker and hiker, he spends as little time indoors as possible, hasn’t owned a TV since the early 80s, and doesn’t miss it. “Any downtime I have, I’m outside doing something,” he says. “I’m excited to become part of a culture that is so outdoor-focused.”

When he starts in February, Mathis will join UW Medicine’s team of experienced professionals led by compliance officers Jane Yung, Laurie Halvorson, and Wendy Jakobsen. He plans to build close relationships with system leadership. “My job is to partner and inform and educate and reach collaborative decisions,” Mathis explains. “One of the things I believe about regulatory compliance is that when you give people with high integrity and an intention to do the right thing all the information, they’re going to come to the right decision.”



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