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Years at Firm: 2
What is your favorite part about practicing health care law at McDermott?
As so many of my colleagues have expressed throughout this series, my favorite part of practicing healthcare law at McDermott is being a member of a collaborative and collegial team that is advising our diverse clients on their most critical and pressing issues. Having spent much of my career in-house, I have experienced firsthand how McDermott’s approach to client service, anchored in humility, empathy and practicality, consistently delivers differentiated value and results for our clients.
What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
I believe that the transition to value-based arrangements will continue to accelerate. Collaborative Transformations will proliferate and present both tremendous opportunities for, and challenges to, traditional healthcare providers. Hospitals, health systems and other providers who embrace the challenges and opportunities presented by this paradigm shift will reap the benefits of their investments. Those who resist this cultural change risk losing ground and market share to their competitors.
What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?
Hospitals and health systems are facing consumer demand for innovation, the need to expand and enhance streams of revenue and the push for improved quality, all while navigating changing regulations, federal enforcement, antitrust litigation and business pressures. 2019 saw hospitals and health systems navigate these challenges and more, with valuable lessons for 2020.
Healthcare is facing a time of transformation as regulators, providers and other stakeholders take action to improve care coordination and increase the use of technology to deliver care. Hospital and health system innovation centers are increasingly acting as the catalyst to fuel growth and expansion through technology and data. In this episode of the Collaborative…
In today’s highly competitive healthcare environment, investors may find themselves in an auction process where they must conduct due diligence pre-exclusivity. With limited time and mounting pressure, it can be difficult to know what issues to prioritize. Here are some practical tips for focusing your due diligence efforts strategically in a pre-exclusivity setting:
- Quality of Earnings: Against the backdrop of high valuations, quality of earnings should be a key diligence focus, particularly in the context of high-complexity transactions such as corporate carve-outs, partnerships with corporates and public-private pairings. For example, it is critical to examine the pro forma EBITDA to see if it excludes costs or includes questionable adjustments or add-backs.
- Timeline: How competitive is the auction process and when are bids due? Does the buyer plan to conduct a full due diligence review pre-exclusivity, or instead look for big ticket liabilities that have a potential to impact valuation or derail the transaction?
- Legal Showstoppers: Keep an eye out for legal showstoppers—issues that go to the core of the business, are not isolated incidents and are not fixable through purchase price adjustments, indemnification, escrow or enhanced compliance measures. For example, referral relationships that are based on illegal arrangements, systemic upcoding, quality of care issues, tenuous relationships with hospital partners, untenable and promised salary increases, a culture of non-compliance, or a retiring physician workforce without adequate succession planning.
As you plan your due diligence, keep in mind these additional factors that can inform how you structure your efforts:
We greatly appreciate our readers continuing to turn to us for insight on the most critical legal, regulatory and transactional developments, and innovative collaborations transforming health care. Over the past year, McDermott’s Health practice made headlines for our work on several of the most high-profile collaborative transformations that took place in 2018: We were one…
It’s the industry disruptors, the unusual partnerships, and the cross-border and cross-sector relationships that are driving Collaborative Transformation in the health care and life sciences organizations. But a Collaborative Transformation takes more than signing paperwork and shaking hands. A successful Collaborative Transformation takes cultural integration between non-traditional partners, incorporating new technologies into health care regulatory compliance structures, and so much more. At McDermott, we’ve recently had the opportunity to help our clients pursue their own Collaborative Transformations, and are proud to showcase their achievements.
Innate Pharma Expands its Collaboration with AstraZeneca
McDermott Will & Emery advised Innate Pharma, a French oncology-focused biotech company, in signing a multi-term agreement with AstraZeneca and MedImmune – AstraZeneca’s global biologics research and development arm. This agreement broadens the existing collaboration, aimed at accelerating the development of an oncology portfolio of each of the parties and to provide patients with more rapid access to new therapeutic options. This extended collaboration will permit Innate Pharma to develop and commercially strengthen its investment ability to develop its immuno-oncology portfolio (IO) and its R&D platform. For its part, AstraZeneca will enrich its IO portfolio with new clinical and preclinical programs. For more information on this collaboration, click here.
CVS + Aetna
McDermott is one of the firms that has advised CVS Health in connection with its $69 billion purchase of Aetna. The transaction, one of this year’s largest M&A deals, is expected to transform the US health care sector. For more information on this collaboration, click here.
As the health care and life sciences fields experience ever-increasing levels of disruption, diverse entities across the industry are teaming up to embrace and foster innovation. These new pairings are shaping the future of health care, as organizations come together to tackle the industry’s most pressing issues with redoubled agility and pooled resources.
On October 10, 2018 President Trump signed two bills that ban “gag clauses” in pharmacy contracts. Congress passed the two bills—one for Medicare prescription drug plans (“Know the Lowest Price Act”) that will go into effect in January 2020, and another for commercial employer-based and individual policies (“Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act”) effective…
It has now been one month since the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) sent its proposed information blocking rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for required review.
We expect OMB to approve the much-anticipated proposed rule and ONC to release it soon with the usual opportunity for public comment. While we wait, there are some things that health information technology developers, health information exchanges, health information networks and health care providers who may be subject to the information blocking prohibition and enforcement actions can do to prepare for the upcoming comment period. But before we get to comments, let’s remind ourselves about how we got to this point.
By way of background, Congress asked ONC to produce a report describing the extent of information blocking and a strategy to address it. ONC submitted that report to Congress in 2015 (the 2015 Report) noting, among other things, enforcement authority gaps and indicating that successful information blocking prevention strategies would likely require congressional intervention. In the 21st Century Cures Act, which became law in 2016, Congress granted the HHS Office of Inspector General investigative and enforcement authorities for prohibited information blocking conduct. The Cures Act defined information blocking as a practice that “except as required by law or specified by the Secretary…, is likely to interfere with, prevent, or materially discourage access, exchange, or use of electronic health information [(EHI)].” As part of the law, Congress tasked the Secretary of HHS with issuing rules that identify “reasonable and necessary activities” that will not be considered prohibited information blocking. This is one purpose of ONC’s proposed rule.
At this point, we do not know precisely what kinds of activities ONC will propose to permit by carving them out of the broad information blocking prohibition. However, from the Cures Act we do know the types of practices Congress believed “may” be information blocking, namely:
- restricting authorized access, exchange and use of EHI for treatment and other permitted purposes, and
- implementing technology in ways that are:
- nonstandard and likely to substantially increase the burden or complexity of access, exchange and use of EHI;
- likely to impede EHI with respect to exporting complete information sets and in transitioning between health IT systems; or
- likely to lead to fraud, waste and abuse, or impede innovation and advancements in health information access, exchange or use.
These track closely to the types of practices ONC identified as raising information blocking concerns in the 2015 Report, which also provided a few illustrative examples, including:…