Kevin Ryan, a member of Much Shelist’s business and finance and health care practice groups, takes some to answer our questions. He has been practicing 22 years. Prior to practicing law, he spent seven years in hospital administration and went to law school at night while working at the hospital.
What do you find the most interesting about your practice?
In health law, there are always new statutes, regulations and rules, or revisions to existing statutes, regulations and rules, so there are always new things to learn and new issues for clients. For example, included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 signed into law by President Obama in February 2009, was the Health Information for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act). The HITECH Act made some significant amendments to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). HIPAA governs how health-care providers, payers and associated businesses protect an individual’s health information. Many of the provisions of the HITECH Act took effect in February 2010. So, clients are having to review and revise their HIPAA policies in order to comply with the HITECH Act.
What makes a good lawyer?
I think that a good lawyer has to understand his/her client and their business. That way your counseling can have the most impact. Many clients and potential clients have stated that they want their lawyer to be able to bring to their attention issues and laws that impact their business, even if the client hasn’t specifically asked for it. This is a proactive approach to serving the client, rather than just always responding to their specific questions.
What is the biggest legal news right now and what is its impact?
Clearly the health legislation that is in Congress. This legislation will have a tremendous impact on every aspect of the health industry if it passes and is signed into law. In addition to the breadth of the legislation, it is designed to be implemented over many years. This will require all new regulations and in some cases, new departments that have not yet been created. A health lawyer’s dream.