Akin Gump Announces Significant Expansion of Health Care Policy Team

Move cements firm’s position as one of Washington’s premier players in health care law and policy

(Washington, D.C.) – A top-tier team of health care policy attorneys and advisors is joining Akin Gump, complementing the firm’s market-leading health care regulatory group and adding significant depth to one of the country’s preeminent public law and policy practices.  The addition will make the health law and policy practice one of the very largest in the nation.

The group is led by John F. Jonas, a veteran in the health care policy space with nearly four decades’ experience in both the public and private sectors. Joining him at Akin Gump are partners Martha M. Kendrick, Karen Smith Thiel and Anurag Varma and senior policy advisor M. Todd Tuten. Richard L. Thompson, former senior vice president for policy and government affairs at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company with over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry will join as senior counsel.  All individuals are joining Akin Gump’s public law and policy practice in Washington, D.C. It is also expected that other individuals will join the team in the weeks ahead.

Akin Gump will also affiliate with Lu Zawistowich, a nationally known professional in Medicaid and Medicare policy who is launching CapView Associates, LLC, a new health policy consultancy.  CapView will provide policy analysis, research and strategic advice to health care stakeholders on payment models, delivery system reform and coverage issues in Medicare, Medicaid and the health care exchanges.

Together, they constitute a comprehensive health care policy and consulting team that advises clients in all aspects of federal, state and local health care law and policy, including matters before Congress, federal agencies and federal and state investigations. The group’s work encompasses legislative and regulatory advocacy regarding matters such as the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, HIPAA compliance and matters relating to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, along with Medicare and Medicaid coverage and reimbursement matters, Food and Drug Administration regulation and enforcement, matters before the House Energy & Commerce Committee and consulting on financial analytics for health care clients.

“This is a game-changer for our clients and our firm,” said Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith.  “For decades, Akin Gump has been synonymous with a first-class public policy practice, and our health care regulatory, policy and transactional work is equally well respected. The addition of this team bridges these two market-leading practices and expands the breadth and depth of services we are able to offer our clients in this critical and swiftly changing area of law. I am very excited to welcome them to the firm.”

The group has vast experience advising on the full array of issues relating to federal and state health care systems and health care delivery methods. They also bring a substantial track record of advising clients on matters before the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee as well as, among others, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Congressional Budget Office, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC).

“Over the years, we’ve worked to build a practice that combines the firm’s public law and policy strengths, particularly in areas such as tax, trade and health care, with the firm’s strong regulatory capabilities,” stated Joel Jankowsky, senior partner and former head of Akin Gump’s public law and policy practice. “With a group of this size and depth, we will have an unparalleled capability in a sector that makes up almost a quarter of our economy.”

Added Mr. Jonas, “Our team was immediately attracted by Akin Gump’s substantive strength in health care and public law and policy work, which is renowned throughout the industry, and its depth in other areas of importance to our clients, particularly intellectual property and private funds-related work. We're thrilled to join Akin Gump because, together, we’ll have the strength and depth in both the substantive area of health care policy as well as the ability to work with the myriad congressional committees and regulatory bodies that affect health care policy.”

The team will join with Akin Gump’s health care and public law and policy practices in advising an array of health industry entities in the public and private sectors. Clients include corporations of all sizes and major trade associations, including insurers, employers, physicians and providers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, biotechnology companies, not-for-profit organizations and municipal interests.

About the team

These individuals bring with them a diverse set of experiences within the health policy arena shaped by years of serving the public and counseling private clients. For example, Mr. Jonas has served in a variety of positions during 10 years of government service, including at the Office of the General Counsel of Health and Human Services and the House Ways and Means Committee, where he served as counsel. Ms. Kendrick has worked on all of the major Medicare legislation in the last two decades.  Others in the group have served in positions of responsibility in the public sector, including on Capitol Hill and within the White House, HHS, MACPAC, MedPAC, CMS and state government, and in the private sector, including at pharmaceutical and biotech companies and health industry associations.

About Akin Gump’s Public Law and Policy Practice

Akin Gump’s public law and policy practice has long understood that solutions to many issues facing clients involve the very processes by which legislation and policy are conceived, developed and implemented by governments in the United States and around the world. For this reason, Akin Gump has built and maintained one of the largest and most diverse government relations practices of any major law firm worldwide. Our practice stresses careful evaluation of client issues and detailed design of strategies and tactics to achieve objectives and provide advocacy that is executed in an effective, timely and coordinated manner.

About Akin Gump’s Health Industry Practice

For more than 30 years, a core group of Akin Gump attorneys has been devoted exclusively to representing health industry clients. These attorneys have comprehensive knowledge of this complex, highly regulated industry and the rapidly changing issues that confront it that is derived from many years of hands-on experience.  The firm’s health industry practice encompasses virtually every aspect of federal and state policy and regulation of the health care industry, and includes attorneys who have the experience and skills to navigate clients through evolving and challenging political and regulatory environments.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 850 attorneys in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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