Health Care


Ulmer & Berne’s health care lawyers work together as a team to ensure that our health care clients achieve their overarching business objectives while simultaneously complying with the vast and continuously changing federal and state health care regulations.

Our health care attorneys are passionate about health law and ensuring that each of our clients has access to the health care legal services necessary to succeed in this highly-regulated and competitive industry.

We represent a wide-variety of health care clients, including hospitals, health systems, retail and compounding pharmacies, single and multi-specialty physician groups, emergency and hospitalist staffing companies, billing companies, preferred provider organizations, management service organizations, physician hospital organizations, clinics, nursing homes, laboratories, pharmaceutical and durable medical equipment suppliers and other entities in the health care field.

Our depth of health care knowledge and experience is tremendous. On a daily basis, we provide our clients with guidance on sophisticated and challenging acquisitions, investments, joint ventures and other business relationships to ensure that they are structured and operationalized in accordance with federal and state Stark and other physician self-referral laws, anti-kickback laws, false claims laws, civil monetary penalty laws and other fraud and abuse regulations.

For example, we frequently counsel our clients regarding health care financing, health care investments, mergers and acquisitions, issues related to tax-exemption, corporate governance, physician and executive compensation, medical device and vendor contracting, third-party payor contracts and reimbursement and managed care contracts. We represent health care industry employers, shareholders and employees in negotiating employment agreements, shareholder agreements, personal service agreements, management agreements, license agreements, distributorship agreements and corporate governance documents related to health care. We also represent clients regarding HIPAA and other federal and state privacy rules, EMTALA and medical staff litigation and disputes.

Our health care practice lawyers frequently collaborate with our lawyers specializing in antitrust, business counseling and transactions, tax, litigation, labor and employment, employee benefits and white collar crime to ensure that we provide high-quality efficient services to our clients in a timely manner. Providing excellent client service is our priority.

Press Release Ulmer & Berne LLP announces that Cleveland-based Counsel Anne Strassfeld has been elected to the Board of Directors of Neighborhood Family Practice (NFP). Strassfeld focuses her practice on advising health care industry clients on a full range of topics, with a particular emphasis on transactions and regulatory matters....

Kathryn E. Hickner, Co-Chair of Ulmer’s Health Care Practice Group, recently contributed to an article about the effect of Universal Health Services v. Escobar, a pivotal U.S. Supreme Court decision for False Claims Act (FCA) litigation. Attorneys Dish On Escobar’s FCA Impact One Year Later From Law360 Kathryn E. Hickner “The...

There are a multitude of complex challenges unique to the health care industry that clients must successfully navigate. Ulmer’s health care attorneys thrive on helping clients confront those challenges with smart strategies that stem from years of industry experience and a passion for problem solving. To help clients stay at...

The American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) recently named Ulmer’s Kathryn E. Hickner Vice Chair of Publications of the Physician Organizations Practice Group. Kate’s one-year appointment is effective beginning July 1, 2017. In this role, Kate works directly with health law thought leaders around the country to increase the educational and informational...

Ulmer Client Alert Topic: Health Care By: Kathryn Hickner Are you an Ohio physician who may from time to time provide a prescription to a patient without personally conducting a physical examination? Or are you a physician practice or other organization with physicians who engage in such activity? If so,...

Stephanie Trudeau is speaking this week at the Northern Ohio Labor and Employment Law Conference on the topic of “Medical Marijuana in the Ohio Workplace”.  Her presentation covers the conflict between Ohio’s statute legalizing marijuana and federal law criminalizing it, suggested policies and practices for employers, and possible scenarios for lawyers to...

Ulmer Client Alert Topic: Health Care Author: Anne Strassfeld It is more important than ever to have an effective internal corporate compliance program tailored to your organization’s compliance risks. Funding for federal government efforts to fight health care fraud is likely to go up, not down. In February and March,...

On Friday, March 24, 2017, Anne Strassfeld will be speaking at the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Health Law Update and Medical/Legal Summit. The annual event brings together doctors, lawyers, health care professionals, and other who work in allied professions in Northeast Ohio for education, lively discussion, and opportunities to socialize....

Ulmer Client Alert Author: Anne Strassfeld Industry: Health Care Could any of the following happen in your workplace? An unencrypted laptop with patient information is lost or stolen An unauthorized person accesses a computer database with patient information Patient billing records are left in an unsecured trash bin in a...

You have heard of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and, most likely, its Quality Payment Program (QPP). But do you really know what it is? Do you know what it means to your practice? Do you know what your practice will need to do to...

When it Comes to Health Care, Change is Inevitable  Lydia Coutre for Crain’s Cleveland Business, January 2017 “Physicians and other providers will continue to position themselves for success under the new health care reimbursement regime that increasingly focuses on paying for the quality and efficiency of medical services provided instead of...

Press Release Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce the addition of veteran health care attorney Anne Strassfeld as Counsel in its Cleveland office. Strassfeld brings with her more than two decades of experience providing legal counsel to health care clients as both outside and in-house counsel. She has...

Author: Kathryn E. Hickner Topic: Health Care For years, anesthesiologists have been acutely aware that this country’s healthcare reimbursement regime is in a state of significant transition. Government healthcare programs (such as Medicare and Medicaid) and commercial payers are gradually moving away from a fee-for-service model to value-based payment programs that focus...

Topic: Health Care Author: Kathryn E. Hickner Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a significant set of changes to its long-term care conditions of participation. The Final Rule is particularly noteworthy because it is the first set of substantial revisions to such requirements since 1991....

Topic: Health Care Law Author: Kathryn E. Hickner What is Section 1557 and Its Final Rule? Building upon other prior federal civil rights laws, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Section 1557) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex in...

Kathryn E. Hickner, Co-Chair of Ulmer & Berne’s Health Care Practice, was recently named Vice Chair of Publications for the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) Physician Organization Practice Group. Ms. Hickner’s one-year term runs through July 1, 2017. The AHLA is the leading non-profit organization focusing on the intersection of health care...

Partner Jennifer Lawry Adams has been named to the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2017. Ms. Adams is among just a handful established leaders who have been selected from a highly competitive pool by The Cleveland Leadership Center. Leadership Cleveland is a leadership development and civic engagement program that empowers recognized,...

“ADVISER: Medicare Home Health Agencies Should Redirect Focus,” Crain’s Cleveland Business January 16, 2016

The healthcare industry needs to proactively respond to an emerging data security threat. Hackers are not only stealing personal information from healthcare organizations for resale but are also beginning to shut down healthcare organizations’ operations using ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s data on its...

In March, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Phase 2 of its audit program has begun in order to assess compliance with the Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of...

We all know that the healthcare industry is experiencing a wave of integration. This trend has been evident for many years. Fewer physicians are willing to assume the legal, financial and other business risks associated with owning their own practices. More and more physicians are becoming employed by large physician...

“Medicare Home Health Agencies Should Redirect Focus” Crain’s Cleveland Business January 16, 2016 Medicare home health agencies provide crucial health care services and access to care to a vulnerable and homebound population. These services include nursing, physical, occupational, speech therapy, social work and home health aide services. Read full article...

Medicare home health agencies provide crucial health care services and access to care to a vulnerable and homebound population. These services include nursing, physical, occupational, speech therapy, social work and home health aide services. Also, home health care is considered the “least costly alternative” among the formal post-acute care setting,...

“Tips Before The Sale: Understanding The Details” The Ambulatory M&A Advisor September 14, 2015 Selling a business can be a momentous event for a business owner. How you prepare for the sale, however, can make or break the deal. What does a business owner need to know before putting its...

July 2015 – On July 20, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the 140 hospices that CMS has invited to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model (Care Choices Model). On the same day, CMS also issued a Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Care...

June 2015 – In a 6-3 decision announced Thursday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act can continue to provide tax subsidies to eligible individuals who purchase insurance on either a federal or state exchange. In essence, this ruling maintains the status quo – that federal...

June 2015 – This client alert highlights a few noteworthy updates regarding HIPAA Privacy and Security Rule compliance and enforcement activity. HIPAA Enforcement Highlights.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently issued updated HIPAA Enforcement Highlights, which provide useful information to organizations as they work to bolster...

“Going Places” Crain’s Cleveland Business June 1, 2015

Jennifer Lawry AdamsKathryn Hickner Ulmer & Berne is pleased to announce that Kathryn Hickner has joined Jennifer Lawry Adams as co-chair of the firm’s Health Care Practice Group. As Counsel, Ms. Hickner brings more than a decade of legal experience in the health care industry to Ulmer & Berne’s Cleveland...

July 2013 – The Department of Treasury announced yesterday that it would delay by one year the Affordable Care Act requirement that large employers provide health insurance to their full-time employees. This means businesses will not be penalized in 2014 if they do not provide employees with health insurance. The...

Representative Experience

Our attorneys have extensive experience providing legal services to a wide variety of health care clients across the country on challenging and sophisticated matters. By way of illustration only, our attorneys have recently:

  • Represented retail and compounding pharmacies in the acquisition and divestiture of pharmacy businesses and assets.
  • Organized physician practices, home health agencies, management service organizations, hospital physician practice subsidiaries and other health care providers and suppliers, which has included the preparation and negotiation of shareholder agreements, operating agreements, buy-sell agreements and related corporate documents.
  • Structured physician and other referral relationships in accordance with the complex layers of federal and state regulation, including the federal Stark law, Anti-Kickback law and state corporate practice of medicine and licensure requirements.
  • Conducted and closed significant private offerings for numerous health care businesses, including for example, nursing home clients, a cloud-based electronic medical record business, a cardiac output measuring business, a dental implant distributor, a physician owned hospital, an emergency room staffing business, ambulatory surgical centers, hospital co-management companies, research and development companies and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Represented clients to organize and negotiate significant cutting-edge population health joint ventures, co-management companies and physician multispecialty joint ventures.
  • Represented small and large physician practices in selling their respective private practices through stock, membership interest, asset or hybrid transactions to large nonprofit medical centers and to publically traded companies.
  • Represented physician practices and other health care businesses merging with large physician groups or other businesses, forming new subsidiaries and acquiring other physician practices and businesses.
  • Represented hospitals and health systems in the acquisition and divestiture of physician practices.
  • Served as corporate and regulatory counsel for large national health care providers operating under the “friendly-physician” practice model.
  • Assisted health care clients in obtaining venture capital and other private equity investments and senior and mezzanine bank financing.
  • Advised client regarding roll-up with a biotechnology startup and related portfolio development companies.
  • Negotiated a license agreement between a global biotechnology company and a therapeutics accelerator.
  • Prepared and negotiated manufacturing and distribution agreement for medical supply kits with multiple medical facilities.
  • Reviewed and negotiated numerous procurement contracts and real estate leases for hospital systems.
  • Represented client in donation of MRI and related business to a large non-profit health care system.
  • Provided health care regulatory and employment law compliance guidance to hospitals, health systems, physician practices, home health agencies, independent diagnostic testing facilities, laboratories, staffing companies, management companies and other health care providers and suppliers, including the preparation of policies and procedures and employee handbooks.
  • Organized and served as corporate and regulatory counsel for Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs) and a physician organization.
  • Provided guidance to numerous health care clients regarding ambiguous and changing regulations under federal and private payor health care payment reform.
  • Provided HIPAA, HITECH, Red Flags Rule and related data privacy and security guidance to clients through the preparation of policies and procedures, day-to-day compliance advice, business associate and data sharing agreements, employee training materials and other forms.
  • Completed Medicare enrollment and change of information forms and assisted clients to resolve issues surrounding the same.
  • Provided guidance to health care providers and medical device companies regarding the Physician Payments Sunshine Act and other federal transparency and reporting initiatives.
  • Assisted physician practices and medical transportation businesses with Medicare billing audit defense.
  • Assisted ambulatory surgery center and home health clients in responding to and preparing for governmental and accreditation inspections and surveys.
  • Reviewed a professional employer organization agreement regarding outsourcing employees.
  • Negotiated complete abatement of Ohio Department of Taxation Commercial Activity Tax assessment with the Ohio Attorney General regarding a surgery center.
  • Developed stock appreciation rights plan for a group of emergency medicine physicians.
  • Advised a global respiratory care designer, manufacturer, and marketer regarding employment and personnel issues.
  • Reviewed and negotiated numerous employment agreements and executive severance agreements for health care clients.
  • Provided ERISA and other employee benefit guidance to hospitals, health systems and other businesses.
  • Provided employment law counsel and advice to a Greater Cleveland hospital system.
  • Represented medical practices in a contractual dispute relating to the performance of and payment for billing services.
  • Represented a clinical diagnostic testing and disease management company in restrictive covenant litigation.
  • Represented a Northeast Ohio hospital in litigating Certificate of Need issues.
  • Defended Medicaid fraud in a grand jury investigation against a dental practice, successfully obtaining a declination letter.
  • Defended physicians, dental practices and pharmacies in state licensing board actions.
  • Defended a private clinic in an investigation by the Ohio Department of Insurance.