Exploring Critical Business and Legal Issues across the Healthcare and Life Sciences Industries
Exploring Critical Business and Legal Issues across the Healthcare and Life Sciences Industries

Five Questions with a Health Lawyer: Emily Jane Cook

By on November 18, 2020

Emily Jane Cook
Practice Focus Area: Federal and State Healthcare Regulation and Reimbursement
Office: Los Angeles
Years at Firm: 11

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?
Without a doubt, it is the people – both our clients and my fellow McDermott attorneys. Due to the nature of our work we are on the phone (and now video!) for many hours every day, often discussing extraordinarily complex issues. The work itself is rewarding, made even more so when done in collaboration with such brilliant clients and colleagues.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
The answer to both is “change.” Federal and state fee for service programs have been around for decades, but they are always changing. The constant change provides both risks and opportunities for our clients, but often whether or not a particular change may be a risk or an opportunity is unclear – or may be different for different clients. Keeping on top of all of the changes – both proposed and actual is endlessly challenging for our clients. Helping them sort through the ever-changing laws, regulations and guidance is one of the many ways in which we provide value to our clients.

What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?
The type of work I find most rewarding is helping clients get from A to B in a compliant manner. Clients come to me when they have determined that a particular business goal may not be compliant with federal or state healthcare laws. Often there is no clear answer, path forward (or both), and the client looks to us to guide them. I do truly enjoy getting to know the client’s business and operations staff, learning about the project and end goals, and working with the client to get as close to the originally-planned project as possible in a manner that meets the client’s needs as well as applicable state or federal healthcare regulatory requirements.

What is the proudest moment of your career to date?
Prior to joining McDermott, I was with the US Department of Health and Human Service (HHS). At HHS, I was responsible for reviewing federal healthcare program reimbursement policies that had the potential to affect rural healthcare providers and rural communities. In that role, I was able to draft regulations and preamble text. My proudest career moment was the first time I saw my words published in the Federal Register – and that is also one of the moments that helped me realize that I needed to become a health regulatory attorney!

What is an interesting fact about yourself that others may not know?
I was a college radio DJ for six years – through college, grad school and during my post-grad school fellowship with HHS (WXDU in Durham, NC and KVCU in Boulder, CO). I still try to keep somewhat on top of new bands, but it was definitely much easier when I was planning out the playlists for my shows every week. I really miss going to see live bands and it is one of the things I am most looking forward to post-pandemic.

Click here to learn more about Emily’s practice.




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