Founding member of Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville (Powers) Jim Pyles retired from the firm on December 31, 2020.
Jim was a founding partner at the firm’s opening in 1983. He was the longest continuously-serving partner in the firm’s history, serving until he voluntarily relinquished his shareholder status in 2017. Since then, he has remained an essential part of the firm as Senior Counsel.
Jim began his legal career after graduating from the University of Tennessee law school in 1972. Upon graduating, he served for six years in the Office of the General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), where he was the chief litigator of Medicare cases for the agency and received the department’s Distinguished Service Award for successfully handling complex Medicare litigation. It was during his time at HEW that Jim met Galen Powers, another founding member of the firm. In 1979, Jim and Galen founded the Washington, D.C. office of a nationally known health law firm. In 1983, Jim and Galen and several other attorneys founded the health law firm Powers, Pyles, and Sutter, which subsequently became Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville, specializing in health law and policy, education and Native American law.
Known by some as “Privacy Pyles,” Jim became nationally known throughout his career as a stalwart advocate for the ethical standard of patients’ rights to privacy of their healthcare information. He was instrumental in fights to advance mental health parity and he served on the Mental Health Liaison Group, a coalition of national organizations representing consumers, family members, mental health and addiction providers, advocates, payers and other stakeholders committed to strengthening Americans’ access to mental health and addiction care.
Among his many other accomplishments, Jim conceived and designed the Independence at Home program in the Affordable Care Act—a demonstration that reduces Medicare costs for the highest cost chronically ill beneficiaries by providing in-home care that avoids repeated hospitalizations. That demonstration has generated billions of dollars of savings for Medicare while allowing house-call physicians and nurses to share in those savings.
In his retirement, Jim will continue to be involved with Powers and the legal and health policy communities. He is currently working with Virginia Senators Warner and Kaine and senior leadership at the University of Virginia Batten School of Business to found a Health Policy Center, which is designed to provide non-partisan policy research grounded in medical ethics to members of Congress and their staffs.
In his spare time, Jim founded a seven person folk rock band that has played all over central Virginia. He is currently assembling a similar band in Ireland.
Powers thanks Jim for his countless contributions to the firm and wishes him well in his next endeavors!