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 Policy Specialist: Deborah Godes

Deborah Godes
Focus Area: Market Access Strategies
Office: Washington, D.C.
Years at McDermott+Consulting: 8


What is your favorite part about your health policy work at McDermott+Consulting?
For me, I love the people with whom I work. It may sound a bit cliché but the people on the Market Access team at McDermottPlus each contribute in a critical way, whether it is their wealth of knowledge from their decades of experience, their analytical approach to challenges and their expertise with critical data sets, or their fresh perspective to an ongoing challenge. While we may have different roles and responsibilities in the development or execution of the strategy, we are always working together as one with the client to achieve the optimal outcome.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
I work with clients that are bringing innovative solutions to the market whether diagnostic tests, medical devices or healthcare services, a number of which are artificial intelligence-based solutions. The biggest opportunity and the greatest challenge for our clients is the level of uncertainty from a reimbursement perspective. Some clients are introducing new concepts that the Administration has not considered previously which creates opportunities for these companies to set new precedent. However, the novelty creates challenges because the Administration may not have historically viewed medical devices or diagnostic tests in that way so it requires a change in [...]

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5 Questions with a Life Sciences Lawyer: Doug Carsten

Doug H. Carsten
Practice Focus Area: Patient Litigation
Office: Orange County
Years at Firm: Joined in March 2021

What is your favorite part about practicing life sciences law at McDermott?
I love working with the incredibly talented partners and associates in MWE’s life sciences group. The level of disparate practice group talent here is remarkable, and I am so excited to collaborate with this team to help our fantastic life sciences clients.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
Biggest opportunity: To work with our life sciences team!
Seriously, the biggest opportunity and challenge facing our life sciences clients are the same – the current pandemic landscape. As an opportunity, life sciences companies have never before been so much in the spotlight and viewed as a potential answer to the COVID-19 virus. On the other hand, the very nature of the pandemic has deeply affected and really changed how life sciences – and all companies – conduct business.

What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?
My true love is trying cases. It doesn’t matter what the issue is – if there is a trial involved, I am excited. Secondarily, I really enjoy unpacking complex fact patterns and developing strategies that the client hadn’t thought of to get around particular challenges.

What is the proudest [...]

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5 Questions with a Health Lawyer: Travis Jackson

Travis Jackson
Practice Focus Area: Hospital and Health System M&A
Office: Los Angeles
Years at Firm: Joined in May 2021

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

The people are my favorite part of being at McDermott. I am not just repeating some “corporate speak” I learned in orientation when I say that. Each person recognizes that we are part of the same team. Our collective success depends on our ability to meet and exceed our clients’ goals. Doing that consistently takes a selfless approach that we exemplify. As a firm, McDermott has unique capabilities across the healthcare industry, regardless of what the issue might be; we work with a commitment of being prepared to assist one another whenever necessary to bring that collective experience to bear on a unique transaction question or regulatory issue. I think that shared philosophy distinguishes us from many of our peers.

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

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5 Questions with a Health Lawyer: Li Wang

Li Wang
Practice Focus Area: Transactions and Health Privacy
Office: New York
Years at Firm: 4 years

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?
In Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, author Adam Grant discusses how knowledge collaboration (and a culture of giving) contributes to more success for organizations. My favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott is its embodiment of knowledge collaboration where ideas are bounced off of healthcare experts within the group and solutions are developed through contributions from the full team. When you have multiple experts thinking through an issue from multiple angles, the end product inevitably results in high quality. I am grateful and proud to get to be a part of the collaborative culture of the team that has been consistently ranked the best in the nation.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
Constituents in the healthcare industry are looking for innovation and reduction in inefficiencies. Just as players in other industries, such as consumer products, are always looking for the next big invention. Healthcare constituents are also seeking products, services and collaborations that they hope will improve everyday lives at the most efficient cost. We have seen innovations in telehealth, app-based healthcare services, vertical collaborations, etc., and I believe we are just at the tip of [...]

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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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