Law360 Publishes Profile of Stephanie Webster, 2014 Health Care MVP

Stephanie Webster, a partner in Akin Gump’s health care practice, was profiled by Law360 as one of the publication’s 2014 health care MVPs.

The article noted that Webster, whose practice focuses on the area of Medicare and Medicare reimbursement, “led hospitals to victory this year at the D.C. Circuit in a major challenge to Medicare reimbursement policies, one of several high-profile court fights that” won her this recognition.

Among the engagements featured were the mentioned D.C. Circuit win in Allina v. Sebelius, for which circuit judges agreed that “the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services a decade earlier had failed to give proper notice when doing a hugely important about-face on so-called disproportionate share hospital payments.” Webster noted that, “The agency made a 180-degree policy change without any acknowledgment or discussion of the change or its impact.” Regarding the magnitude of this victory for her clients, given courts’ deference to regulators, she said, “It is difficult to get a rule vacated by a court for lack of notice because agencies are given considerable leeway as they develop their policies through rulemaking,” adding that the amount at stake—calculated into the hundreds of millions of dollars—was “very significant.”

The profile also discusses Webster’s and the firm’s work in Shands v. Burwell, which involves 400 hospitals’ challenge to a 0.2 percent rate reduction, equaling $220 million annually nationwide, instituted by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and in Tampa General Hospital’s dispute with CMS over Affordable Care Act changes to the disproportionate share hospital formula. Regarding why the latter is significant, Webster said, “The ACA contained a lot of provisions that purported to preclude appeal of the agency’s interpretation of a lot of new payment methodologies, and this is one of them.”

To read the full profile, click here.