Reyes: A Life
and Career of Commitment to the Community
by John Fries
Carlos Reyes has always been interested in helping his community.
ItÕs likely that many of the people with whom he grew up in Miami
and Hollywood would, if asked, recall him as a "model citizen."
ItÕs heartening to realize that his strong commitment to the community
has stayed with him through his high school, college and law school
years. Moreover, it continues well into his career as a successful
attorney with Greenberg Traurig LLP, an international, full-service
law firm with more than 1,100 attorneys and governmental professionals
in 24 offices in the United States and Europe, include six offices
Today, Reyes serves as Past Chairman and Commissioner of the Memorial
Healthcare System board of trustees and as a partner at Greenberg
Traurig. In these roles, and as a private citizen, he is almost exhaustingly
active as he continues to serve the community in many ways.
HeÕs a dedicated blood donor and a visible supporter of the Memorial
Blood Bank. He speaks to groups about various issues. Fifteen years
ago, he co-founded the Hispanic Bar Association of Broward County,
which has been instrumental in addressing issues that impact Hispanic
and minority lawyers. He helps many charitable organizations and has
been recognized with countless awards for his services, but to him,
the real reward is the opportunity to help others.
"IÕve always been interested in Š and passionate about Š community
work," said Reyes, who, during a recent phone interview, was exceedingly
genuine, friendly and accommodating. "I realized a long time ago that
when you have your health, you have everything. ThatÕs why IÕm so
glad to be part of the Memorial Healthcare System board."
Reyes, who focuses his practice in governmental affairs, real estate
and international law, was appointed to the Memorial board by Governor
Jeb Bush in 1999.
"Because I work with the law all day long," he said, "I wanted to
get involved with something that would impact the community in a different
He found it at Memorial. "ThereÕs about a 12- to 18-month learning
curve for new trustees," he said. "You have to gain an understanding
of the health system bureaucracy, the processes that make it work,
and the key acronyms and issues of the day, such as DRGs and reimbursement
He holds Frank Sacco, MemorialÕs CEO, and the other board members
in high esteem, and was eager to be involved in health system governance.
For his part, Sacco has been quoted in print regarding his admiration
for Reyes as well, calling him "one of the best."
Initially, the experience was eye-opening and provided Reyes with
a new perspective on the health care landscape.
"Eighty-five percent of health systems are suffering, and the environment
is more complex than ever," he said. "One remedy is taxed with another
remedy. We have to be at the top of our game when it concerns patient
care, as well as on top of quality, technology and the impact of the
ever increasing indigent care dilemma. This is a major undertaking."
As a new board member, Reyes was surprised by the complexity inherent
in running a health system. "As citizens, we take things for granted
and assume everything will just "happen" when we arrive at the hospital.
Most people donÕt realize how complex the delivery of healthcare is
today. More important, how challenging it is to address a patientÕs
medical condition and emotional state which is also tested in times
of medical crisis."
However, he added, "Memorial Health System and its administration,
physicians and employees are phenomenal. Each area has and deals with
their particular nuances. We try to be proactive, not reactive. Our
objective, ultimately, is to deliver a healthy Broward County."
He added that Memorial is also ahead of the curve in a number of areas.
"For example, Time Magazine featured a major story about Medicare
errors a few years ago. We had identified Medicare errors as an area
of focus and had begun addressing it six months prior to the publication
of the Time article."
There have been some crucial issues to address, one of which is the
cost of medical malpractice premiums for physicians. With rates rising
dramatically, in some cases 50 to 150% per physician, a solution was
"Doctors and hospital administrators can sometimes be at odds with
one another," Reyes admits. "But all parts are necessary, and everyone
needs to be part of the solution. IÕve always encouraged participants
in the system to be creative and think outside the "proverbial" box.
We eliminated the burdensome insurance requirement the health system
had for the doctors, while at the same time creating a captive insurance
entity for our own pool of physicians which serves to assure that
public welfare is still paramount."
Reyes is well traveled. After college, he attended law school at Rutgers
University in New Jersey and, for a time, worked for AT&T in New York
City and Washington, D.C. In 1986 he moved back home to Florida.
As active as Reyes is with his law firm, board and community commitments,
he makes sure his professional life is balanced with quality family
time. He and his wife of 20 years, Nancy, and their three children
Š Carlos III, 17; Alejandro, 14; and Marielena, 11 Š live in the Southwest
Ranches in Broward County. He loves spending time with them, whether
at home, on vacation or attending Marlins games. He also enjoys playing
"God has blessed me in many ways," said Reyes, "with the five Fs of
life: faith, family, friends, finances, and fitness."