As a new year begins, we at Powers are once again taking a moment to reflect on the past year, highlight some of our important work and celebrate our client successes.
A Look Back at 2022
Lobbying and Government Relations
Powers was featured in Bloomberg Government’s 2021 Top-Performing Lobbying Firms, an annual report that highlights the 350 firms that reported $1 million or more in lobbying revenue.
Principal Peggy Tighe was named 2022 Top Lobbyist by the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics and Leadership Connect.
Principals Julie Allen and Peggy Tighe were recognized among the Hill’s 2022 Top Lobbyists List.
Five Powers attorneys were selected to Super Lawyers 2022. Principals Mark Fitzgerald and Ron Connelly and Counsel Kathleen Hatfield were selected to Super Lawyers 2022, a list of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Principal Dan Brozovic and Senior Associate Leela Baggett were selected to Super Lawyers Rising Stars, which highlights attorneys who are either 40 years old or younger or who have been practicing for 10 years or less.
Powers was recognized in Chambers USA 2022. Healthcare and Native American Law practice areas were ranked as well as the following Principals: Mark Fitzgerald, Brian Gunn, Kevin Wadzinski, and Paul Moorehead. The Native American Law practice was specifically recognized, and it was noted in the award that Powers “continues to impress in the Native American law space, representing tribes and entities doing business with tribes on a broad range of issues, including lobbying work and matters pertaining to energy development, federal recognition and gaming projects….”
Sixteen Powers attorneys were recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2023. Fifteen attorneys were recognized in Best Lawyers, and one was recognized in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch.
For the 13th consecutive year, Powers was named to 2023 “Best Law Firms” list, an annual guide to the nation’s top law firms published by U.S. News and World Report and The Best Lawyers in America.®
Medicare and Medicaid Coverage Work
Powers Principals Julie Allen and Diane Millman created and launched a strategy to support the dental community in addressing the challenge of limited dental surgery access for children and adults in need of complex dental rehabilitative surgeries. Julie worked to secure bipartisan congressional support for a change in Medicare coding and reimbursement to support hospitals in allowing operating room access for dental procedures. Powers also worked with the disability community, who are disproportionately impacted by the lack of dental surgical access. Julie and Diane led the dental community’s engagement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and that effort coupled with lobbying support resulted in the Biden Administration agreeing to make dentistry’s recommended changes, creating a separate billing code and significantly improved reimbursement for dental surgical services performed in hospitals. This lobbying effort is expected to improve health equity for dental patients covered by the Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans.
Powers Managing Partner Peter Thomas and Director of Government Relations Joe Nahra served as lead legislative counsels for the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid (ITEM) Coalition. Over the past three years, the ITEM Coalition has led a stakeholder effort to advocate for coverage of seat elevation and standing systems in power wheelchairs, including preparing and drafting a comprehensive National Coverage Determination Reconsideration Request, coordinating support for national disability, rehabilitation, patient, clinician, and industry organizations, garnering support from Members of Congress and Administration officials, and more. This year, the ITEM coalition, with support from member organizations and industry stakeholders, held a briefing in the Senate to discuss the benefits of Medicare coverage of seat elevation and standing systems in power wheelchairs. Through the ITEM Coalition, Powers organized a grassroots campaign to solicit more than 3,500 public comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in support of Medicare coverage for these systems. The ITEM Coalition will continue advocating with Congress and CMS for Medicare coverage of these systems. CMS is expected to release a decision on power seat elevation coverage in 2023.
Medicare Advantage – Prior Authorization
In September 2022, the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act was passed by the United States House of Representatives through a voice vote. The Powers-led Regulatory Relief Coalition (RRC) led by Powers Principals Peggy Tighe and Diane Millman spearheaded the bill and its movement. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation was championed in the House by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ami Bera, MD (D-CA), and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) and in the Senate by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), John Thune (R-SD), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Passage of this bipartisan bill in the House was propelled by more than 320 co-sponsors and over 500 endorsing organizations cultivated by Powers, representing patients, health care providers, medical technology and biopharmaceutical industry, health plans, and others seeking to help protect patients from unnecessary delays in care by streamlining and standardizing prior authorization in the Medicare Advantage (MA) program.
Powers Principal Julie Allen and Director of Government Relations Taryn Couture secured congressional bipartisan support for a new initiative within the federally-supported home visiting program known as Healthy Start. As a result of their efforts, the Healthy Start Program, which is administered by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will initiate a program to allow for remote blood pressure monitoring and patient education and awareness about hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, including preeclampsia. Upon securing congressional appropriations language, Julie and Taryn worked with Healthy Start and the Preeclampsia Foundation to launch a pilot program for 2023 that will allow for home blood pressure monitoring when state and local healthy start programs have clinical support within their program.
340B Drug Pricing Program
Following extensive work to develop persuasive arguments and litigate before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, in December 2022, Powers attorneys Bill von Oehsen, Barbara Straub Williams, Ron Connelly, Megan La Suer, Mark Ogunsusi, Fernando Montoya, Natalie Lorenz, Allyn Rosenberger, and Hannah Comeau won a significant victory for Arkansas 340B covered entities in the suit initiated by PhRMA. Powers represented certain Arkansas safety net providers in the lawsuit. The lawsuit was over a novel 2021 Arkansas law that prohibits pharmaceutical manufacturers from restricting the distribution of 340B drugs to contract pharmacies. The Arkansas state agency, as well as covered entities represented by Powers defended the state law. The Court ultimately referenced arguments raised by Powers as part of its decision. The Arkansas decision is a significant victory for 340B covered entities. The decision may spur other states to enact similar laws that ensure continued access to 340B drugs at contract pharmacies.
Federal Appropriations Wins and Grant Funding
Powers Counsel, Kathleen Hatfield supported clients in securing $7.2 million in FY 2022 Congressionally-Directed Spending (CDS)/earmarks to be used to support hospitals, medical clinics and other providers in expanding their services through the purchase of medical equipment and establishment of new health center offerings, including support for patients in the areas of addiction healing and cancer infusions. Kathleen also secured $6 million in the Omnibus 2023 Appropriations bill to support the National Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Training Program administered by HRSA.
Through federal grant writing support, Kathleen’s efforts also resulted in:
- A significant award for a hospital client through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA);
- A $200,000 award provided by the State of California to enable a large Mental Health Center in Los Angeles to install a new Visitor Monitoring System to protect the health and safety of its patients, staff and visitors, along with a second state award of $65,000 to enable patients and families who are victims of domestic violence acquire transportation to and from the Mental Health Center and be able to access critical services such as medical appointments, grocery stores, schools and employment;
- A $100,000 USDA planning grant to create a telehealth network that will link a three-hospital health system in Los Angeles County with the Department of Public Health and Social Services on Guam, as well as with a number of WIC clinics and private health clinics on the island to address maternal/infant mortality and cardiovascular health needs; and
- A $75,000 grant from a private foundation to assist a behavioral health facility and its partners to implement a trauma-informed care and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) screening program for adolescents who receive treatment for severe mental illness.
To recognize Native American Veterans, Powers held a special breakfast in celebration of the Dedication of the Native American Veterans Memorial by the National Museum of the American Indian. The reception hosted several representatives from different tribal groups. During the event, Principal Paul Moorehead also recognized Don Lounder for all his contributions to the Native American community. Lounder’s most recent contribution was working with South Korea to ensure a steady supply of KN-95 masks to each tribe during the Covid-19 pandemic. The breakfast reception was held to coincide with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian event in honor of Native American veterans.
Principal Brian Gunn and Director of Tribal Government Relations Natasha John from the Powers Tribal Practice Group attained congressional passage of S.3773, legislation that authorizes the leasing of tribal lands for terms of up to 99 years.
Attorney Spotlights & Presentations
- Powers Principals Bill von Oehsen and Barbara Straub Williams and Associate Mark Ogunsusi presented at the 340B Coalition Winter Conference.
- Powers Associates Mark Ogunsusi and Megan La Suer presented at the Health Care Compliance Association’s (HCCA) 26thAnnual Compliance Institute on ”The 340B Drug Discount Program: Navigating a Sea of Critical Compliance Elements.”
- Powers Principal Barbara Straub Williams presented at the American Health Lawyers Association Institute on Medicare and Medicaid Payment Issues.
- Powers Principals Nick Michiels and Dan Brozovic presented at the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (EASFAA) Conference to address federal reviews of institutional compliance with Title IV federal student aid regulations and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”) standards.
- Powers Principal Barbara Straub Williams presented at the Pharmacy Growth Collaborative meeting on the landscape of the 340B Drug Pricing Program.
- Powers Principal Peggy Tighe and Associate Mark Ogunsusi were featured on Compliance Perspectives Podcast, a national podcast hosted by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE)®in coordination with the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)®, delivering information regarding the history and purpose of the 340B Program.
- Powers Director of Government Relations Joe Nahra presented at the panel for CRT Awareness Day to raise awareness of the importance of ensuring access to Complex Rehab Technology.
- Powers Principal Barbara Straub Williams and Associate Mark Ogunsusi presented at the 340B Coalition Summer Conference.
- Powers Managing Partner Peter Thomas and Director of Government Relations Joe Nahra presented at the roundtable hosted by the National Council on Disability to elevate the importance of Medicare coverage for seat elevation and standing systems in power wheelchairs.
- Celebrating its 10thAnniversary as the unified voice of the specialty pharmacy industry, Powers Principals Julie Allen and Peggy Tighe and Associate Mark Ogunsusi presented at the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy’s (NASP) 2022 Annual Meeting & Expo.
- Powers Principal William von Oehsen and Associate Mark Ogunsusi presented at the Developments in Pharmacy Law Seminar hosted by the American Society for Pharmacy Law and before the American Society for Pharmacy Law Podcast, on the 340B program.
- Powers Principal Bobby Silverstein was featured in a Politico article on Senator Orrin Hatch’s role in the passing on the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the Act’s history.
News Faces and Promotions
- Hannah Comeau joined the Healthcare Practice as a Law Clerk.
- Alyson Raphael joined the Education Practice as a Law Clerk.
- Allyn Rosenberger joined the Healthcare Practice as an Associate.
- Natalie Keller joined the Legislative Practice as Manager of Government Relations.
- Powers Principal Nick Michiels was elected as an Allied Director for the Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) Board of Directors. CECU is a membership organization of accredited postsecondary schools, institutes, colleges and universities that provide career-specific educational programs.
- Powers Associate Ryan Tyler Spraker was appointed by the President of the United States, upon the nomination of the Mayor of the District of Columbia, to serve as a Local Board Member of the District of Columbia for the United States Selective Service System. The mission of the Selective Service System is to maintain a system that, when authorized by the President and Congress, rapidly provides personnel to the United States Armed Forces in a fair and equitable manner while managing an alternative service program for conscientious objectors.
It is with profound sadness that, this year, Powers announced the passing of our beloved partner, Robert “Bobby” Silverstein. Often referred to as the “behind-the-scenes architect” of twenty pieces of federal legislation impacting persons with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Bobby was the epitome of the consummate professional, revered for his analytical skills while also incredibly thoughtful and compassionate. Bobby had an unfailingly positive attitude and held firm to the motto to disagree without being disagreeable. His smile, encouraging words, and commitment to mentoring the next generation of leaders will be missed every day. For those who knew and loved Bobby – his legacy will help light the way to a brighter future.
May Bobby’s memory be a blessing!
We at Powers are grateful for our work on behalf of our clients and for a successful 2022. We look forward to another year of achievements in 2023.