HEALTH & LIFE SCIENCES NEWS
HEALTH & LIFE SCIENCES NEWS
Exploring Critical Business and Legal Issues across the Healthcare and Life Sciences Industries
HEALTH & LIFE SCIENCES NEWS
Exploring Critical Business and Legal Issues across the Healthcare and Life Sciences Industries
Results for "5 Questions"
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5 Questions with a Health Lawyer: Tony Maida

Tony Maida
Practice Focus Area: Health
Office: New York
Years at Firm: 6 years

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?
The people and the variety. I have to be honest that when I left government service with the HHS Office of Inspector General, I did not expect to find even a similar type of camaraderie at Big Law given the time pressures and demands. I have been pleasantly surprised by how the health group truly functions as a team. People help each other out, whether it is to contribute to a pitch, thought piece, or client project, and do so with enthusiasm. This espirit de corps is an ingrained part of the culture.

And I am happiest when I have variety in my work. At McDermott, I work with clients across the healthcare spectrum, from health systems, physician practices and post-acute providers and suppliers, life sciences and technology companies as well as payors. These clients present many regulatory issues to grapple with and having this broad industry viewpoint helps give the best-informed advice and identify practical solutions.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
It is a bit of a cliché to say healthcare is always changing, but sometimes clichés are true. We have a confluence of a few large issues 1) changing payment models in part driven by government budgets and aging population, [...]

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5 Questions with a Health Lawyer: Sandra M. DiVarco

Sandra M. DiVarco
Practice Focus Area: Health
Office: Chicago
Years at Firm: 19 years

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?
I sometimes joke that there is “never a dull moment” in my practice, but it really isn’t a joke! With the spectrum of clients we serve in the healthcare space, we are faced daily with novel questions, complex situations and unique business issues – often with incredibly short timelines. Even after years of practice, no two days are exactly the same and I would not have it any other way.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
My practice is primarily focused on assisting hospitals and healthcare systems with the diversity of regulatory and corporate issues they face every day. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting to the changing nature of healthcare was posing challenges for these providers. The pandemic accelerated the use of what were previously novel care delivery processes, fueled by regulatory flexibilities permitted during the public health emergency. How hospitals and health systems will further adapt by scaling back (in cases where flexibilities are not made permanent) or ramping up (where regulatory changes are made permanent) will be the next challenge. Revenue hits from the pandemic and provider burnout may dampen some of the energy for major change as we emerge from [...]

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5 Questions with a Health Lawyer: Esther Chang Weese

Esther Chang Weese
Practice Focus Area: Health
Office: Los Angeles
Years at Firm: 18 years

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?
Hands down – the people. I started at McDermott as a summer associate in 2002, and I tell potential recruits all the time that there is no other big law firm that I would rather practice at because of the team we’ve built at McDermott – the quality and the character of the people here are bar none. I also enjoy that I am still learning and being challenged, because at McDermott, we are advising clients who are on the cutting edge of innovation and change in the healthcare industry.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
Two thoughts on this: first, the pandemic accelerated the use of digital tools and we’re seeing some of our clients trying to figure out how to more effectively implement virtual care, get paid for it and grow their telehealth networks. Second, while we have seen continued physician group mergers and acquisitions, we are also seeing some pushback on these consolidation efforts by regulators. For example, here in California, Assembly Bill 1132 (initially introduced in February 2021) would have required California Attorney General review of certain healthcare provider transactions (including transactions involving medical groups) with a value of three [...]

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5 Questions with a Health Lawyer: Gregory E. Fosheim

Gregory Fosheim, JD, MPH
Practice Focus Area: Healthcare and Life Sciences
Office: Chicago, IL
Time at Firm: 2.5 years

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare and/or life sciences law at McDermott?
There’s a reason why everyone answers this question with “the people.” The cadre of attorney and business professionals I have the privilege of working with every day is truly extraordinary, each of whom is exceedingly generous with their time and support, despite overwhelming workloads themselves. Everyone understands the healthcare and life sciences landscape and has an unapologetic passion toward doing impeccable work with the utmost professionalism and a healthy dose of humor and humility. It felt like I was given a parachute on my first day that allowed me to take leaps of faith to expand my practice into new areas of focus with the reassurance of a soft landing if I had any questions or challenges. Everyone is an integral member of the team and it shows.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
We have an exhausted industry caring for an exhausted nation. The challenges today are the same challenges that the American healthcare system has had for decades: How to innovate? How to differentiate? How to collaborate? Now that we are more than a year into the global COVID-19 pandemic, [...]

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5 Questions with a Health Lawyer: Brian R. Stimson

Brian Stimson
Practice Focus Area: Enforcement and Litigation
Office: Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA
Time at Firm: 3 months

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?
I love the entrepreneurial culture of McDermott and the satisfaction that comes with finding creative ways to help clients solve problems. I also love the breadth and depth of the expertise and thought leadership at the Firm. I am continually amazed by the culture and capabilities at McDermott and I am excited to be a part of the team.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
Uncertainty. The pandemic affected how health sector clients conduct business and has had wildly different financial consequences for the industries within the sector. It is unclear whether those economic changes will prove temporary or permanent. At the same time, there have been significant political changes at the federal level that will have policy, oversight, and enforcement consequences for the health sector. The clients who can successfully navigate this period of rapid political and economic change have an opportunity to accelerate out of the pandemic. We are uniquely equipped at McDermott to help clients capitalize on the uncertainty.

What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?
It is a tie between False Claims [...]

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5 Questions with a Health Lawyer: Andrea-Gale Okoro

Andrea-Gale Okoro
Practice Focus Area: Healthcare Transactions and Life Sciences
Office: Boston
Years at Firm: 3

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?
Prior to summering at McDermott, I interned at a firm client, who fondly recalled that McDermott gave prudent and practical advice. That has remained the case since I started working here and it’s one of my favorite aspects of McDermott. I really appreciate working with and being mentored by attorneys who are not only at the top of the market in terms of their healthcare legal expertise but, also provide clients with practical advice that doesn’t inappropriately push the envelope. McDermott healthcare attorneys do a remarkable job of being bold and creative, but not unnecessarily exposing our clients to risk.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
It’s well-known that healthcare services in this county are becoming unsustainably costly for consumers and providers alike. This is due, in part, because of the squeeze on supply and rampant inefficiencies. Because of this, stakeholders across the healthcare space – and even outside of the healthcare space – are constantly seeking ways to provide efficient, high-quality care. I see clients feel the pressure to collaborate with and/or acquire providers in order to reduce overhead costs, secure better reimbursement rates, and stay competitive. These factors have driven rapid consolidation in the [...]

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5 Questions with a Health Lawyer: Christopher M. Olson

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 [...]

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5 Questions with a Health Lawyer: Steven J. Schnelle

Steven J. Schnelle
Practice Focus Area: Healthcare
Office: New York
Years at Firm: 2.5 years

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?

Without a doubt, the people! Every day I have the pleasure and honor of working with brilliant and unique colleagues that recognize and appreciate one another’s contributions to our team, both personal and professional. And I’m not just talking about my colleagues with signatures bearing the McDermott logo—our clients are doing amazing things and give us the opportunity every day to engage creatively and collaboratively to make a difference. There’s nothing better than celebrating an achievement with people you care about!

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?

I think they’re one and the same—the dynamism of the healthcare system in the United States. With constantly evolving laws, regulations, interpretive guidance, enforcement priorities, judicial precedent, industry players and trends, there’s never a slow moment in healthcare. Companies that can anticipate and respond to these changes enjoy tremendous tailwinds, while those that become entrenched in the status quo stand to lose out. Our clients benefit from McDermott’s deep bench of accomplished healthcare attorneys who often play a central role in these changes, giving our teams highly developed insights as these changes happen.

What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?

Work that involves existential issues, or issues that implicate entire business lines, is particularly exciting for [...]

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5 Questions with a Health Policy Specialist: Rodney L. Whitlock of McDermott+Consulting

Rodney L. Whitlock, Ph.D
Vice President, McDermott+Consulting
Focus Area: Healthcare Policy
Years at M+: 1.5 years

What is your favorite part about your health policy work at McDermott+Consulting?

Healthcare policy, politics and process is complicated. It is a constant challenge to discern and anticipate the future of healthcare policy for clients. It is the constant intellectual challenge of operating in healthcare policy that I enjoy most about what I do. Specifically, I like that I can bring my 21 years of experience in Congress to my clients, move from subject matter to subject matter and play at a high level. For example, I can go from talking about prescription drugs in the morning then later on in the day dealing with an issue very specific to a client. It’s the challenge of having to be in different spaces at different times of the day that I actually enjoy.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?

The current global pandemic has significantly impacted healthcare. All of the pressures on pricing and value that existed before the pandemic are now accentuated by the response to the crisis. The recovery from the loss of revenue experienced by providers throughout the year 2020 will be felt for a long time to come. The way practices have changed to accommodate the pandemic will also impact the provision of healthcare services and how they are reimbursed for a long time [...]

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Five Questions with a Health Lawyer: Nicholas Alarif

Nicholas Alarif
Office: Washington, DC
Years at Firm:  3

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott? 

I hate to sound like a broken record, but the best part about practicing at McDermott is the innovative and collaborative culture. I have found that McDermott fosters a team-based approach to solving client issues. The opportunity to interact with experts in so many disciplines and sub-disciplines to achieve common goals for our clients has been fantastic. Further, I have found that my colleagues are open to new approaches to tackle client issues and are always happy to streamline internal processes. Innovation is not what you typically think of in a law firm environment, and McDermott’s embrace of change makes for an exciting and fun place to practice.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today? 

The biggest opportunity and greatest challenge may actually be the same—a shifting regulatory landscape. For instance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of Inspector General recently published proposed revisions to the physician self-referral law (Stark Law) and the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) regulations, which, among other things, are attempting to foster transitions from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care. These proposed changes will potentially allow providers broader flexibility when engaging in financial relationships with a value-based goal. The proposed changes present [...]

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