Christopher M. Olson
Practice Focus Area: Health – Transactions
Office: Los Angeles
Years at Firm: 7
What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?
My favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott is meeting and working with the top individuals in the healthcare industry. Both the clients and the McDermott attorneys are at the forefront of the healthcare industry. The projects that come across my desk are complex and often address the most pressing issues for clients. Working with top attorneys to devise innovative solutions to these challenges is my favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott.
What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
One of the greatest challenges facing hospitals and health systems in California is determining if a sale or joint venture is in their best interests. The California Attorney General has recently taken a more proactive approach when reviewing non-profit hospital transactions in California, making it more difficult to ascertain the effects of a transaction. In addition to imposing generally expected conditions such as requiring certain annual levels of charity care or that hospital service lines remain open for 10 years post-closing, the California Attorney General recently imposed a number of competitive impact conditions that limit how the target hospital can integrate with the acquiring hospital post-closing. These competitive impact conditions include requiring the two hospitals to have separate payor negotiating teams and capping the target hospital’s annual growth of reimbursement charges. These conditions may limit future non-profit hospital transactions so, better understanding their future use and effects may also present an opportunity for California hospitals and health systems.
What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?
I really enjoy taking a first pass through a definitive transaction document. Transforming a client’s goals from a brief phone call or email into a well-structured purchase agreement is extremely rewarding. I enjoy learning about the business reasons why a client is pursuing a transaction and then tailoring the definitive agreement to meet those needs.
What is the proudest moment of your career to date?
The proudest moment of my career to date was successfully representing a client in its acquisition of an acute care hospital from a non-profit hospital system that had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The financially distressed target hospital provided much-needed services to a low-income community in Los Angeles. There was a real possibility that the hospital would have had to close its doors if the transaction was delayed. Leading a team that allowed that hospital to remain open to service a community that was particularly hard hit by COVID-19 was a highlight of my career.
What is your favorite decoration in your office?
My favorite decoration in my office is a replica of the HMS Endeavour. The HMS Endeavour was a British Royal Navy research vessel captained by James Cook in the late 18th century and is famous for its exploration of the Pacific Ocean, including as the first European ship to reach the east coast of Australia. The Endeavor also holds some sentimental value, as it was a law school graduation present from my parents.