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Sarah E. Swank



As a former senior in-house counsel for two national health care systems, Sarah Swank provides strategic, regulatory and operational advice to health systems, hospitals and academic medical centers, as well as large national and regional physician organizations and telehealth and other startups.

What do you focus on?

Accountable Care Organizations, Clinical Integration, and Managed Care

I provide strategic advice to executive leadership at health systems, hospitals, academic medical centers, long-term care, and large physician organizations. I advise clients regarding accountable care organizations (ACOs) and clinically integrated networks through all stages of development, including application into the Medicare Shared Savings Program. I assist with innovative approaches to pay-for-performance, managed care contracting, care coordination, and population health. My experience includes ACOs with multiple hospital systems, physician-owned, joint venture models, medical faculty entities, Federally Qualified Health Centers, children’s hospitals, health information exchanges, long-term care, and hospital-owned health plans.

Digital Health, Telehealth, Artificial Intelligence, and HIPAA

I counsel major academic medical centers, nationally recognized health systems, and ACOs in launching and growing complex operational programs, such as national and international telehealth, digital health, and AI programs. I work directly with in-house counsel and senior and clinical leadership on strategic development and implementation of telehealth and e-health programs. Additionally, I assist technology startups with regulatory and corporate advice, including HIPAA compliance. I recently assisted an internationally known academic medical center with planning, implementation, and advice regarding telemedicine credentialing, governance, operational, HIPAA, and fraud and abuse matters. My background includes advising academic medical centers on international second opinion programs and strategic planning regarding programmatic international expansion. I have firsthand experience managing these issues as in-house counsel.

Fraud and Abuse and Compliance

My fraud and abuse background focuses on advice and guidance under Stark, the Anti-Kickback Statute, Civil Monetary Penalties, and the False Claims Act related to physician transactions, compliance programs, graduate medical education, clinical research, medical director and other physician arrangements, investigations, and compliance efforts after a corporate integrity agreement (CIA). I integrate operational issues with technical analysis of the fraud and abuse laws to suggest practical solutions. My experience includes acting as fraud and abuse counsel during negotiations with the DOJ on Stark and medical necessity, assisting with structuring physician arrangements and transactions, conducting internal investigations, and advising regarding CIA implementation post-settlement.

Clinical Research and IRBs

My work in the area of clinical research and institutional review boards (IRBs) includes due diligence reviews during hospital mergers, FDA audits, reporting, program evaluation, and compliance of IRB and research programs for academic medical centers and community hospitals. I successfully prepare and advise clients during FDA audits, assist with the integration of research activities into compliance programs and electronic health records and digital implementation, perform HIPAA compliance assessments, and provide training and education to IRBs.

What do you see on the horizon?

I understand the pressures of general counsel who face increased budgetary demands and the need to adapt to changes in the health care industry. As we move toward pay-for-performance arrangements, care coordination, and digital health solutions, my prior experiences provide valuable insight into where the health care industry is heading both nationally and internationally.

Publications and Presentations

Sarah Swank is a national speaker, author, and thought leader in supporting organizations to navigate the rapid changes occurring in health care, including payment reform, ACOs, telehealth, and artificial intelligence. Sarah continues to be an innovator in the health care arena, having presented and authored on various topics, including serving as the first speaker at both HIMSS and the American Telemedicine Association on ACOs as well as the first professional to speak on telehealth issues with the American Health Lawyer Association. A selection of her standout presentations and publications over the years include the following:

AI, Telehealth and Digital

  • Presenter, “Telemedicine Beyond COVID19: Provider Experiences and Future Challenges,” Nixon Peabody webinar, June 25, 2020
  • Presenter, “Artificial Intelligence and Health Care: The Intersection of Science and Law,” American University College of Law Webinar, July 8, 2020
  • Presenter, “AI and Telehealth: What You Need to Know Now,” American Telemed, June 22, 2020
  • Presenter, “AI in Health Care: Its Impact and What You Need to Know to Stay Compliant,” Health Care Compliance Association Webinar, May 18, 2020
  • Presenter, “AI and Telehealth: What You Need to Know Now,” ATA2020 Annual Conference & Expo, Phoenix, AZ, May 4, 2020
  • Presenter, "Commercial Payer: Telehealth Reimbursement During COVID-19," CTeL Coronavirus Webinar Series, April 30, 2020
  • Presenter, “COVID-19 and Telehealth,” American Health Lawyers Association Podcast, March 26, 2020
  • Presenter, “Telehealth Trends: Risks, Rewards and Reimbursement,” Health Care Compliance Association, Webinar, March 23, 2020
  • Author, “Bring home the bacon—Nutritionists as health care market disruptors,” Nixon Peabody Food & Beverage Crystal Ball, January 2020
  • Presenter, “The Impact of AI on Health Care: What You Need to Know,” Nixon Peabody Webinar, December 3, 2019
  • Panelist, “Telehealth Trends: Risks, Rewards and Reimbursement,” Nixon Peabody Webinar, November 14, 2019
  • Panelist, “Artificial intelligence and the legal implications, safety considerations and opportunities for utilizing AI and telehealth in the health care industry,” Illinois Telehealth Law & Policy Forum, 2019
  • Presenter, “What’s Next for ACOs - Managing Financial Risk and Measuring Quality Through Telehealth,” American Telemedicine Association, 2014
  • Presenter, “Developments and Trends in Telemedicine,” Alabama Health Law Section, Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, 2014
  • Presenter, “The Nuts and Bolts of Launching and Growing a Telemedicine Program,” Physicians and Hospitals Law Institute, American Health Lawyers Association, 2014
  • Presenter and Moderator, “The Technology of Telemedicine,” Telehealth Bootcamp Series: A Look at Legal and Regulatory Matters Specific to Telehealth, Telemedicine and m-Health, American Health Lawyers Association, 2014
  • Presenter, “The Nuts and Bolts of Launching and Growing a Compliant Telemedicine Program,” Webinar, Health Care Compliance Association, 2013
  • Presenter, “The Future of Telemedicine: Paving the Road Ahead and Making the Case for Telehealth,” Telehealth Bootcamp Series: A Look at Legal and Regulatory Matters Specific to Telehealth, Telemedicine and m-Health, American Health Lawyers Association, 2013
  • Presenter, “ACOs and Integration: What is on Horizon for Telemedicine,” ATA Annual International Meeting & Trade Show, American Telemedicine Association, 2013
  • Presenter, “CMS Telemedicine Credentialing & Privileging: Legal Do’s & Don’ts,” Webinar, Progressive Healthcare Conferences, 2012
  • Presenter, “Telemedicine Credentialing and Privileging: Complying with the New CMS Rule,” Webinar, Strafford Publications, 2011
  • Presenter, “Successfully Meeting the Legal and Financial Challenges of EHR Implementation,” Healthcare Law & Compliance Institute, International Performance Management Institute, 2011

ACOs, Value-Based Care and Managed Care

  • Presenter, “Buy, Build or Invest—A Wanna Be Distruptor's Guide to the New Health Care Models,” AHLA Health Care Transactions Conference, Nashville, TN, April 21, 2020
  • Panelist, “ACOs: The Year in Review—Hot Topics, Developments of the Past Year, and Prognostications for the Future,” Healthcare Transactions Program, American Health Lawyers Association, 2014
  • Presenter, “Accountable Care Organizations and Provider Integration Under Health Care Reform,” National Business Institute, 2014
  • Presenter, “ACO Formation, Operation and Compliance,” 2014 Compliance Institute, Health Care Compliance Association, 2014
  • Presenter, “ACOs and the Affordable Care Act,” Video Broadcast, Federal Bar Association, 2013
  • Presenter, “The Marketplace is Now Open for Business: What you Need to Know About the Health Insurance Exchange,” Webinar, Health Care Compliance Association, 2013
  • Presenter, “ACOs and What a Compliance Officer Should Know,” Corporate Compliance Forum, The Children’s Hospital Association, 2013  
  • Author, “Quality-Based Healthcare Models: Getting More Bang for Your Healthcare Buck,” AHLA Connections, American Health Lawyers Association, 2013
  • Presenter, “Insurance Exchanges: How They Work, What They Change,” Webinar, National Business Institute, 2013
  • Presenter, “Supreme Court Affordable Care Act Decision: What’s Next for Health Care Providers?” Practicing Law Institute, 2012
  • Presenter, “EHRs and ACOs: You Can’t Have One Without the Other,” HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition, 2012
  • Author, “Five Trends in Health Care for Election Year 2012,” Health Law Report, Bloomberg Law Reports, 2011
  • Author, “Will ‘Qualified Entities’ Be up for the Quality Public Reporting Challenge?” AHLA Connections, American Health Lawyers Association, 2011
  • Presenter, “The Final ACO Regulations: Is Participation Worth a Second Look?” Webinar, American Bar Association Health Law Section and the ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education, 2011
  • Panelist, “New Directions for Healthcare Delivery - Leadership Perspective,” Healthcare Conference, BB&T Capital Markets, 2011
  • Panelist, Second Annual Health Care Real Estate Summit, BISNOW, 2011
  • Presenter, “Health Care Reform: A Year Later - HIPAA and HITECH, ACOs and Enforcement Tools,” Health Care 2011, Practicing Law Institute, 2011

Stark, Anti-Kickback, HIPAA and Compliance

  • Speaker, “Navigating Insurance, Licensing, and HIPAA Regulations During the COVID-19 Crisis,” Inside Reproductive Health Podcast, Fertility Bridge. March 19, 2020
  • Co-author, “AHLA Health Care Compliance Legal Issues Manual,” American Health Lawyers Association, 2019
  • Presenter, “Hot Topics in EMTALA: Screening and Triaging Emergency Room Challenges,” Physicians and Hospitals Law Institute, American Health Lawyers Association, 2018
  • Chapter author, “Enforcement under HIPAA and HITECH: Why You Need to Worry Again About HIPAA,” Health Care IT: The Essential Lawyer’s Guide to Health Care Information Technology and the Law, Section of Science and Technology Law, American Bar Association, 2013

Clinical Research, Innovation and Institutional Review Boards

  • Co-author, “Institutional Review Boards: A Primer,” Third Edition, American Health Lawyers Association, 2018
  • Presenter, “The Brave New World of Research Regulations: What You and Your IRB Need to Know Now,” Global Conference, Association of Clinical Research Professionals, 2014
  • Author, “Research Records and EHRs: Five Practical Tips in a New Compliance Era,” Compliance Today, 2012
  • Author, “Is Your Research Data Safe? HHS Seeks to Strengthen Protections Under the Common Rule,” HIT News, American Health Lawyers Association, 2012

The General Counsel and Legal Department Best Practices

  • “How Physicians Can Help Patients in Recovery from Substance Use Disorders During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Health eSource, American Bar Association, July 2020
  • Author, “The CARES Act: Funding and Other Key Considerations Impacting the Business of Non-Hospital Health Care Providers and Employers Operating Small Business,” Journal of Bankruptcy Law, June 2020
  • Author, “The CARES Act: Assistance and Funding for Health Care Providers,” Journal of Bankruptcy Law, June 2020
  • Speaker, “CARES Act for Healthcare Providers,” Strafford Webinar, May 12, 2020
  • Speaker, “COVID-19 GC Roundtable, Part 3,” American Health Law Association’s Speaking of Health Law Podcast, April 22, 2020
  • Speaker, “COVID-19 GC Roundtable, Part 2,” American Health Law Association’s Speaking of Health Law Podcast, April 13, 2020
  • Speaker, “COVID-19 GC Roundtable, Part 1,” American Health Law Association’s Speaking of Health Law Podcast, March 31, 2020
  • Author, “FAQs on Section 1135 Waivers: What Health Care Providers Should Know,” American Health Lawyers Association Publication, March 2020
  • Presenter, “EMTALA and COVID-19,” American Health Lawyers Association Podcast, March 23, 2020
  • Presenter, “How to Prepare for and Respond to the Impacts of COVID-19,” Health Care Compliance Association Webinar, March 26, 2020
  • Presenter, “COVID-19: The Latest Updates and Guidance for Hospitals and Health Care Entities,” Nixon Peabody Webinar, March 25, 2020
  • Presenter, “COVID-19 Update—Health Care: Essential steps for hospitals and health care entities to prepare and respond now,” Nixon Peabody Webinar, March 10, 2020
  • Co-Author, “Responding to COVID-19–8 Steps for Hospitals to Protect Patients, Employees, and Communities,” American Health Lawyers Association Publication, March 2020
  • Presenter, “2019 Novel Corona Virus: Legal Preparedness for the Healthcare Sector,” CDC’s Public Health Law Program and American Health Lawyers Association Webinar, 2020
  • Presenter, “When Violence Comes Calling: Approaches to Today’s Common (and Unfortunate) Violence,” AHLA Physicians and Hospitals Law Institute, Phoenix, AZ, 2020
  • Author, “Health Care Under Fire—Preparing for an Active Shooter Before Your Facility Is a Target,” American Health Lawyers Association, 2019
  • Moderator, “The General Counsel Series Part III: Legal Department Management,” American Health Lawyers Association Webinar, 2019
  • Moderator, “The General Counsel Series Part II: Contract Management,” American Health Lawyers Associate Webinar, 2019
  • Co-author, “The Future of In-House Counsel: Five Reasons Why the Practice of Health Law is Changing,” AHLA Connections, 2015

Member spotlight

Health Law Connections | October 23, 2020

The latest issue of the American Health Law Association’s magazine includes a Q&A with Washington, D.C. Health Care counsel Sarah Swank. In addition to highlighting Sarah’s practice, the feature covers some of Sarah’s very early roles, family life and how she’s managing through the pandemic.

Speaking of Health Law: COVID-19 GC Roundtable, Part 9 (podcast)

American Health Law Association | August 31, 2020

In this podcast episode, Washington, D.C. Health Care counsel Sarah Swank speaks with University of Kansas Health System Senior Vice President and General Counsel Dan Peters and University of Southern California Vice President and Managing General Counsel Stacy Rummel Bratcher about how their hospitals are managing the pandemic response.

Speaking of Health Law: COVID-19 GC Roundtable, Part 8 (podcast)

American Health Law Association | August 06, 2020

In this podcast episode, Washington DC Health Care counsel Sarah Swank speaks with executives of two health care organizations about how their jobs have changed during the pandemic, discussing the challenges of remote workforces, ongoing regulatory changes and scarce resources, among other topics.

Healthcare Automation Matters More Than Ever During a Pandemic

HealthTech | July 10, 2020

This article about automation’s increased importance in health care during the pandemic quotes Washington, DC, Health Care counsel Sarah Swank from a panel she moderated at the American Telemedicine Association’s recent 2020 conference. Sarah noted that we are at the very beginning of AI’s expansion in health care.

Speaking of Health Law: COVID-19 GC Roundtable, Part 6 (podcast)

American Health Law Association | June 30, 2020

In this podcast episode, Washington, DC, Health Care counsel Sarah Swank speaks with two general counsel on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic about issues that arise with remote work such as cybersecurity, employee morale, and how things might change in the future.

#ATA2020: Artificial Intelligence and Its Role in Virtual Care

HealthTech | June 24, 2020

This article, covering a panel discussion from the American Telemedicine Association’s 2020 conference, quotes Washington, DC, Health Care counsel Sarah Swank on the rapidly expanding role of artificial intelligence in virtual care. Sarah moderated the panel, which included health care stakeholders from across the country.

Speaking of Health Law: COVID-19 GC Roundtable, Part 5 (podcast)

American Health Law Association | June 18, 2020

In this podcast episode, Washington, DC, Health Care counsel Sarah Swank speaks with two executives on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic about the future of telehealth, and using the pandemic to inform how we should address future public health emergencies. The speakers also discuss how the pandemic may reshape the health care industry, particularly primary care.

Speaking of Health Law: COVID-19 GC Roundtable, Part 4 (podcast)

American Health Law Association | May 14, 2020

In this podcast episode, Washington, DC, Health Care counsel Sarah Swank speaks with two general counsel on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic about how COVID-19 has affected their associations and advocacy activities, and how they are dealing with the related challenges.

COVID-19 GC Roundtable (podcast)

American Health Lawyers Association | April 01, 2020

In this podcast, Washington, D.C. Health Care counsel Sarah Swank speaks with three hospital general counsel on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Telehealth and COVID-19

AHLA Speaking of Health Law | March 26, 2020

Washington DC Health Care counsel Sarah Swank appeared on this American Health Lawyers Association podcast to discuss how medical facilities are ramping up telehealth programs in response to the pandemic.

Hospitals seek legal cover amid their coronavirus responses

Healthcare Financial Management Association | March 24, 2020

Washington, DC, Health Care counsel Sarah Swank discusses how waivers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have allowed hospitals to pursue flexible approaches to patient care during the wave of COVID-19 infections.

Coronavirus sparks demand for local telemedicine, marks turning point for the industry

Washington Business Journal | March 20, 2020

Washington, DC, Health Care counsel Sarah Swank talks about how a new waiver that expanded the list of video conference apps and platforms permitted under HIPAA for telemedicine could be a game-changer for the industry.

Navigating telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic: An interview with Jill Gordon and Sarah Swank (podcast)

Inside Reproductive Health | March 19, 2020

In this podcast episode, Los Angeles Health Care partner Jill Gordon and Washington, DC, Health Care counsel Sarah Swank discuss new regulations around using telemedicine to reach patients in a time of community quarantines.

Hospitals expect to feel the financial pinch from coronavirus efforts. Clinics already are.

Washington Business Journal | March 18, 2020

This article features Washington, DC, Health Care counsel Sarah Swank discussing how hospitals are adjusting to changes in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, and how many hospitals can employ lessons learned during the 2008 recession.

The Top Coronavirus Questions Health Attys Are Hearing

Law360 | March 17, 2020

This Q&A with health care attorneys quotes Washington, DC, Health Care counsel Sarah Swank related to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Section 1135 waivers and what they mean in practice.

AI in Healthcare – how to avoid fraud and abuse

AIMed | March 09, 2020

Washington, DC, Health Care counsel Sarah Swank wrote this contributed article analyzing how organizations can avoid fraud and abuse pitfalls as clinical AI services become more prevalent in the industry.

Contact

Sarah E. Swank

Counsel

Washington, DC

Phone: 202-585-8500


Fax: 833-695-6391

Villanova University School of Law, J.D., cum laude

Skidmore College, B.A., cum laude

District of Columbia

Maryland

New York

Vermont

  • Vice Chair, Publications Book Editorial Board, Health Law Section leader (2020-2021), American Bar Association
  • Member, Board of Directors, Latchis Theatre
  • Member, Board of Directors, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital
  • Vice Chair, Publications Book Editorial Board, American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA)
  • Vice Chair of Education, In-House Practice Group, American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA)
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