Hometown: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Family: Husband: Tom; Children: Emily, Jane Lyle, Spears, and Anne Archer; Pets: Bella dog, Abbie dog and visiting dog CISCO.
Hobbies: A little golf, lots of exercise—group exercise—Cycle You and Crossfit Zone are favorites, cooking and entertaining. As president of the Paris-Bourbon County YMCA, I spend quite a bit of time working with staff on new programs and financial resources.
Currently reading—John Grisham’s new book
Favorite drink Diet Coke, coffee and wine
How’d you end up working in this area of law at McBrayer?
When I moved from Atlanta to Lexington, I found MMLK to be a great law firm with committed and caring members who focused on the big picture. I have always found healthcare a fascinating area that is so important, so complex, and ever-changing. Terry McBrayer assigned a certificate of need case to me early on and from there, my practice has blossomed to include so many different areas of health law –from reimbursement to contracting to defense of false claims. My first certificate of need hearing lasted five days with Ben Chandler as the opposing counsel. I think that we both won that case!
So, what’s it like?
I still like the certificate of need process because it gives me as a lawyer responsibility for helping my clients expand their services, start new programs and bring badly needed services to areas of Kentucky that have great needs. Two of my favorite clients are Hospice of the Bluegrass and Rockcastle Hospital and Respiratory Care Center. Who would think that Kentucky has one of the largest and most respected hospice programs in the US? And, Rockcastle Hospital and Respiratory Care Center is a model for long term treatment of ventilator dependent patients and has one of the successful programs for weaning patients in the US. All here in Kentucky!
How’s it different than you expected?
Healthcare and health law are so much more complicated than I expected. As the most highly regulated industry in the country, transactions that make good business sense are often found to be illegal in healthcare settings because of the nature of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Healthcare providers have so much to be concerned about in addition to caring for patients. As the payment system evolves to include quality and value as components in pricing, healthcare providers face big challenges in technology, in reporting, and in treatment. In my opinion, big data and genetic research will prove to be major tools that allow us to develop important treatments to fight illness and disease.
What’s been the hardest part?
Keeping up the ever-changing laws and regulations. When a client has a great idea for expanding services or partnering with another provider on a new service, it is difficult to tell the client that these relationships may be prohibited and have to look for a new way to do things. By the same token, I feel great responsibility for my clients and want to make sure that their business practices are up to date with all the regulatory complexity they face.
If you had to choose a totally different career/path, what would it be?
I would probably pursue a PhD and work in higher education.
If you were starting today, would you do the same thing again? Why or why not?
I love the clients that I work with and I probably would work in the same area. If things had turned out little differently, I would have pursued additional degrees and still may do so!
What advice would you give to someone just starting out trying to do what you’re doing?
I think a clinical background would be so helpful when practicing in the health law area. While not mandatory, a lawyer with clinical knowledge already knows a lot about the industry.
Tell me about your management style.
I like to work with people on projects and have truly come to appreciate the different skills that individuals possess. I do think that there are generational differences in how individuals work. The millennials’ quick mastery of technology and incorporation into their daily routines are incredible. Keeping up with technology and communication can be quite challenging particularly when you are not accustomed to communicating via text, twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and etc. on a moment to moment basis.
What’s one piece of advice you remember most clearly?
Work hard and be honest. Pay attention to the details.
What do you consider your greatest achievement at MMLK so far?
With every case that we win, the value of my staff is apparent. My staff is awesome! They have been such an important part of my practice for a long time and often do not get the recognition that they deserve. Practicing high quality law in the complex healthcare area requires a team, not just a lawyer.
Latest posts by Sally McMahon (see all)
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