COVID-19 drew on Daniel Santos’ skills over a nearly two-decade career as an attorney and a follower of the servant leadership philosophy.
Servant leadership “has been central to my approach to working and growing my career,” he said. “It’s about having the proper perspective and learning how I can serve people in my department and give them the tools they need to achieve what they want.”
That would be tested during the pandemic. Santos — UCare’s chief legal officer, senior vice president and corporate secretary — worked with the executive team to ensure employees’ safety during the pandemic, launched a move to remote working, and upgraded information technology. These tasks came in addition to managing a department with more than 40 employees and a multimillion-dollar budget.
UCare, a health plan serving the state’s most vulnerable populations, rolled out COVID testing information and gave out hand sanitizers and face masks to members. “As a nonprofit organization, we take our commitments seriously to helping the local community,” Santos said.
The pandemic brought forth many legal hazards, from how to handle the rapid expansion of telehealth to helping our members access the care they needed in an environment where the health care delivery system was struggling. “There was certainly a lot of legal assistance that was needed,” he said.
Before and during the pandemic, Santos negotiated a complex deal with UCare’s pharmacy benefit manager, led the rollout of an enterprise-wide contract management system, monetized a class action lawsuit and led an initiative improving board governance.
Santos honed his health care legal skills at the Virginia-based nonprofit Sentara Healthcare before joining UCare in 2018. The U.S. Navy veteran and son of an immigrant family often volunteers with organizations focused on diversity. “I came from a pretty modest background, and I’m a minority, so I feel compelled to help areas of my community that are in need and I derive great satisfaction from the experience,” he said.
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