In Memoriam: Chris Bangerter (April 30, 1966 - May 3, 2013) - Articles

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Posted by: Lynn Pointer on Sep 18, 2013

This article first appeared in the Health Care Compliance Association's August 2013 Edition of Compliance Today and is reprinted by permission of the author.

by David Lewis

My friend and colleague Chris Bangerter passed away on May 3, 2013 at the age of forty-seven following a brave and inspirational battle with kidney cancer. Chris had been diagnosed almost three years ago and we knew his time with us was nearing an end and he had prepared us for it, but his death was still very difficult for us to accept. He passed away with his family near him on May 3, 2013. Among other family members, he is survived by his wife Becky and his three children, Lucas, Eva, and Jack, who were the love of his life. His friends, family and colleagues at LifePoint Hospitals celebrated his life on May 9, 2013.

Many members of HCCA got to “meet” Chris in the November 2010 issue of Compliance Today, where Chris was interviewed by Shawn DeGroot in the feature story for that issue and the cover included a great picture of Chris at our offices in Brentwood, Tennessee. I hope that no copyright laws were violated, but an enlarged version of the cover for that issue was signed by the members of the Executive Team at LifePoint and displayed along with white roses outside the Compliance Office at Lifepoint following Chris’s death and at Chris’s funeral at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Franklin, Tennessee.

Chris graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and was an Army helicopter pilot for the Blackhawk UH-60 helicopter. He served his country in Operation Desert Storm and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and other medals. After leaving the military, Chris attended law school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He initially practiced in Hawaii (where his parents lived), but he returned to Nashville where he worked in private practice and at Hospital Corporation of America and Vanderbilt University before he joined LifePoint Hospitals in 2003. He was hired by then General Counsel (and now Chairman and CEO) Bill Carpenter to work in the Legal Department at LifePoint and subsequently was named Chief Compliance officer for our company. I met Chris when he worked in the Office of General Counsel at Vanderbilt University about twelve years ago. As a long-time member of the Program Committee for the Tennessee Bar Association Health Law Forum, I frequently asked Chris to speak at our programs on fraud and abuse topics and his presentations were always insightful and well-received by our attendees. Although I was aware of Chris’s diagnosis, Chris was one of the reasons I joined LifePoint Hospitals in 2011. Our time together at LifePoint was far too short, but I came to know Chris better and understand what a terrific person and role model he was. He continued to serve LifePoint even as he endured a difficult course of chemotherapy, even taking calls from government officials demanding reports while he was undergoing chemotherapy at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

As I reflect on my time with Chris, the things that are most striking are the courage with which he faced his disease, the strength of his faith, the love of his family and his undying care for others. At no time would you hear him complain about his fate or say “why me?” His concern was always for his family and the trials they were going through.

Chris made great contributions to LifePoint Hospitals, the compliance profession and to HCCA. If you knew Chris, or even if you don’t, I would encourage you to consider a donation to the Kidney Cancer Association, The Wounded Warrior Project or the charity of your choice. I am grateful to HCCA for asking me and allowing me to share my thoughts and memories of Chris Bangerter.

David Lewis is Vice President and Associate General Counsel at LifePoint Hospitals in Brentwood, Tennessee and is past chair of the TBA Health Law Section