By Terry Baynes
Feb 12 (Reuters) - In the latest move by Patton Boggs to
handle work generated by the Affordable Care Act, the firm on
Tuesday said it had brought back Medicaid and Medicare expert Lu
Zawistowich to its healthcare, FDA and life sciences practice
Zawistowich rejoins the firm as a senior public policy
advisor from the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission
(MACPAC), a resource for Congress, states and other stakeholders
in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.
In the past, Zawistowich held numerous government posts
related to federal healthcare programs, including at the
Medicare Payment Advisory Commission as well as the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services. She worked in Patton Boggs'
healthcare group from 2004 to 2010.
With around 30 lawyers, healthcare is the largest practice
area within Patton Boggs' lobbying group, which encompasses both
legislative and regulatory activity. The firm has been seeking
to bolster areas related to Medicare, Medicaid and healthcare
reform, said John Jonas, a Patton Boggs lawyer in Washington,
D.C., who established the firm's healthcare practice.
The hire of Zawistowich, an expert in Medicaid, reflects
Patton Boggs' belief that Medicaid will no longer be seen as
"the stepchild" compared to Medicare in public policy circles,
Jonas said. Instead, as states opt to expand their Medicaid
programs under the healthcare act, there will be a crucial need
for Medicaid expertise, Jonas said.
In addition to Zawistowich, the firm recently hired two new
healthcare associates, Erica Krauss and Eli Tomar, both of whom
have public health expertise as well as law degrees. The firm
plans to expand its healthcare team even further, Jonas said.
Given the leeway that Congress grants agencies in
implementing legislation, it is important for law firms to have
technical depth and credibility with an agency like the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said Jonas.
"On the hill, if you're the big hospital system in the
district, they'll probably keep meeting with you out of
political necessity. That's not the case on the regulatory
side," he said. But developing regulatory expertise can be a
challenge for law firms, he added, given that there are more
people in Washington who understand the legislative process than
the regulatory process.
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