By Maddie Bainer
My name is Maddie Bainer and I am a rising 3L currently pursuing my J.D., with concentrations in health law and business transactional law. I’m originally from Memphis, Tenn., and I went to the University of Tennessee for undergrad (Go Vols!). After college, I spent a year working in a learning center, which gave me time to explore graduate schools and choose a program that best fit my interests and skills. Ultimately, I decided law school was the right path for me, and, in an effort to combine my interest in medicine with law, I moved to St. Louis to attend the top-ranked health law program at SLU LAW.
Last summer I worked in Washington, D.C. for the Federal Labor Relations Authority, a small government agency that handles federal labor disputes, just as the National Labor Relations Board handles non-federal labor disputes. As a legal intern at the FLRA, I got the chance to participate in alternative dispute resolutions and I assisted in drafting arbitration and negotiation decisions for a federal administrative appellate-level judge.
Because of my interest in health law, this summer I am working at Health Capital Consultants, a healthcare economic and financial valuation consulting company that appraises the fair market value and/or commercial reasonableness of a transaction within the confines of the federal laws for healthcare organizations. Essentially, healthcare companies seek our consulting services to value each component of their practice, particularly employment contracts with physicians, to ensure that everything complies with fraud and abuse laws (i.e., Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statute, and False Claims Act). This valuation step is critical for healthcare entities because these fraud and abuse laws require companies to pay fair market value for services in order to prevent inappropriate referrals or overutilization of medical services.
During the past six months I have helped draft portions of a treatise designed to explain health laws and healthcare valuation to appraisers and other non-health law analysts. I also write monthly newsletter articles for our clients, through which I have the opportunity to research numerous regulations, current trends, and “hot-button” issues in healthcare. One of the most interesting things I’ve done this summer is assist our legal counsel and financial analysts with research and valuation for a qui tam fraud and abuse case for which our company has been hired as an expert witness.
Because the company is so heavily focused on the economic side of healthcare transactions, I have the unique opportunity to work with analysts who compare contracts with performance standards to determine whether physician compensation is commercially reasonable for the services provided. Before this internship, I knew very little about physician compensation or the many requirements healthcare entities must fulfill in order to avoid noncompliance. This internship has exposed me to so many different aspects of the American healthcare system and has been a fantastic learning opportunity for me to better understand the complexities of healthcare law.
To any law students with an interest in health law, I cannot emphasize enough how helpful an internship in the field can be. The courses I have taken at SLU LAW have given me an opportunity to discuss health law concepts with some of the most knowledgeable health law professors in the country, while my internship has given me a chance to apply those concepts in a practical setting.