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
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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Five Questions with a Health Lawyer: Justin P. Aiello

Justin P. Aiello
Practice Focus Area: Healthcare M&A
Office: Miami
Years at Firm: 7

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?
The wealth of knowledge maintained by our more than 120 attorneys who are dedicated to practicing healthcare law. Healthcare law comprises dozens of subspecialties and most of our client matters require a broad understanding of multiple subspecialties to provide exceptional advice. No single person can be knowledgeable in every subspecialty. It is our group’s collective practice, in nearly every healthcare subspecialty, that enables our attorneys to provide comprehensive, seamless advice regarding our clients’ healthcare investments.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
The biggest opportunity still seems to be consolidation—perhaps the simplest and most reliable investment thesis. Despite all of the consolidation in the healthcare industry over the last couple of decades, the physician practice space remains highly fragmented with ample opportunity for gaining competitive advantages and cost savings through scale while still delivering excellent patient care. The biggest challenge (and perhaps also an opportunity) may come with the shift from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement and its potential impact on the financial modeling on which many investment decisions have been based.

What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?
I enjoy representing our private equity clients in their initial platform investments in physician practice [...]

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Five Questions with a Health Lawyer: Emily Jane Cook

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 [...]

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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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