Tell us how you got into, and what you love the most about your legal career in healthcare? I began my career as a litigator, and a number of my clients were in heavily regulated industries, including pharmaceutical manufacturing. I was fortunate enough to be able to use my pharmaceutical industry knowledge, and risk mitigation and dispute resolution skills to land a job within the McKesson Law Department. At McKesson, I ultimately pivoted into a healthcare regulatory and commercial contracting lawyer overseeing legal support for pharmaceutical manufacturer relationships and transactions, among other business units. After nearly a decade at McKesson, I became General Counsel at Nurx, an innovative telemedicine company providing accessible and affordable healthcare to hundreds of thousands of patients for sensitive medical needs, including contraception, HIV prevention, STI testing, migraines, skincare and mental health. In 2022, Nurx merged with Thirty Madison, combining forces to deliver quality care to more patients, with a focus on chronic medical conditions. What I love most about my legal career in healthcare is the collective drive, on the part of both lawyers and business people, to improve patient care. Everything we work on is typically viewed through a "patient first" filter, with the goal of having a positive impact on people who might otherwise experience barriers to treatment, whether due to cost, geography, stigma or simply logistics. We and our loved ones have all been patients at one time or another, so there is a deeply personal and fulfilling aspect to knowing that my team's legal work benefits patients. Other things I love about working in this field are the often fierce commitment and intelligence of people among whom I have worked, and the intellectual stimulation of wrestling with dynamic and challenging legal issues in an ever evolving space.
What are some trends you see emerging in your specific area of the healthcare industry in the next five years? Covid has "supercharged" the expansion of remote/telemedical care, with increasing acceptance by payors, providers, patients and traditional health systems. Remote care is rightfully often viewed as not just convenient but necessary for the delivery of efficient, affordable, quality care. With greater adoption, however, comes greater complexity. Companies have to navigate sometimes rapidly changing state-specific laws governing digital care, privacy considerations of innovative technological tools and platforms used to deliver patient care and communications, and (where applicable) payor coverage and reimbursement. Enforcement trends have also shifted, with greater scrutiny of telemedicine providers by regulatory boards and enforcement agencies. All this is happening against a backdrop of greater competition, with traditional retail national pharmacies and health systems competing with emerging telemedicine companies. In the next five years, we will likely see more consolidation among the various competitors, increasing B2B partnerships with telemedicine companies by both employers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, and (hopefully) more consistency across federal and state telemedicine legal constructs.
How has your role as a lawyer in healthcare changed in recent years? As discussed above, COVID by necessity drove the rapid expansion of telemedicine, which in turn drove changes in the law, as well as provider and payor practices. Healthcare lawyers have had to be agile and flexible in helping their companies manage against these changes, including in holistic ways that take into consideration non-legal issues such as supporting provider retention in a changing patient-provider landscape.
What are the top three attributes that you look for when you hire? Curiosity/love of learning, the ability to execute calmly and flexibly even in challenging circumstances, and a collaborative/kind team spirit
If you could go back and give advice to your newly graduated self, what advice would you give? Don't stress too much about individual projects or cases; if you've chosen the right job (alongside kind, smart and collegial people) everything will work out. Also, don't wait 20 years until COVID to get a dog!