Rob Portman’s extensive experience in both healthcare and nonprofit law makes him a uniquely valuable resource to nonprofit medical societies, healthcare associations, disease-related charities, certification bodies, and other nonprofit organizations.

Armed with knowledge and expertise in these two legal specialties positions, Rob has a proven ability to understand the legal challenges facing nonprofit organizations, and a track record of guiding them to creative and effective solutions. Rob also advises non-healthcare trade associations, physician practice groups, and other healthcare providers. In addition to his expertise in healthcare and nonprofit law, Rob’s value to clients lies in his unwavering commitment to client communication and responsiveness.

Rob’s early career positions provided the opportunity for significant responsibility, and taught him the importance of developing close professional relationships, performing under pressure, and being responsive to client needs. He served as Special Assistant and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Work and Technology Policy for Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich from 1993-95, and also served as the Secretary's principal representative to the President's Task Force on Health Care Reform. From 1989-91, Rob was Executive Officer of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in Chicago, where, among other things, he directed the States Attorney's Task Force on the Forgoing of Life-Sustaining Treatment.

Currently, Rob’s services to professional society, healthcare association, voluntary health organization and certification body clients include:

  • Executive contracts and compensation issues
  • Bylaws drafting and review and other governance issues
  • Antitrust, tax, and intellectual property
  • Internet and e-commerce
  • Consultant, vendor and hotel, and convention center contracts
  • Americans with Disabilities Act compliance
  • Drafting and interpreting ethics and standard-setting policies and procedures, appeals and disciplinary procedures, and confidentiality, record keeping and other policies
  • Personnel and other human resource issues
  • Transactions, mergers, and corporate restructuring
  • Creation of nonprofit and for-profit affiliates
  • Legislative and regulatory matters, including legislative drafting and analysis, the filing of comments on administrative rulemakings before the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and other federal agencies
  • Litigation against federal and state governments, as well as private parties, although his primary focus is on helping clients avoid or settle litigation through mutually beneficial dispute resolution. He also regularly files amicus curiae briefs in the United States Supreme Court and other federal and state appellate courts in matters involving significant health care policy issues
  • Lobbying and election law issues, including compliance with FEC and IRS rules and regulations governing lobbying registration and reporting, establishment and operation of political action committees, independent expenditures, and corporate communications

Another major component of Rob’s practice is the development of the legal structure and agreements for national clinical data and public health registries sponsored by medical societies and other nonprofit organizations. Rob and his colleagues also advise these registries on compliance with federal and state patient privacy laws and other legal requirements.

Rob’s work with individual physicians, practice groups and other healthcare providers includes:

  • Counseling with respect to HIPAA patient privacy rules
  • Fraud and abuse investigations defense and compliance counseling
  • Stark II self-referral and Medicare-Medicaid anti-kickback counseling
  • Transactions with hospitals, other medical groups, individual physicians and vendors of medical equipment and supplies
  • Practice sales and acquisitions to hospitals and other physician groups
  • Advice and counseling with respect to physician employment, independent contractor, and managed care agreements
  • Antitrust litigation and counseling
  • Counseling and defense of litigation involving EMTALA
  • State licensure and disciplinary matters
  • Credentialing and privileges disputes with hospitals and managed care organizations
  • Medical staff bylaws disputes
  • Defended medical society against federal district court claim challenging society’s decision to overturn presidential election.
  • Represented numerous physician groups in sales of their practices to hospitals; asset transfers; and other transactions with hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers.

Additionally, Rob has:

  • Created and now manages the Physician Clinical Data Registry Coalition, which advocates for policy changes to facilitate the development of clinical data registries focused on quality improvement.
  • Drafted numerous policy-related amici curiae briefs, including related federal cases involving Freedom of Information Act requests for Medicare physician claims data.
  • Represented coalition of medical societies in successful effort to amend Patent Statute to prevent enforcement of medical procedure patents against physicians and their affiliated institutions
  • Represented medical society in spinning off practice management software product to for-profit subsidiary and then in licensing product to an unrelated for-profit company.
  • Represented numerous nonprofit organizations in asset transfers, mergers, and consolidations.
  • Represented medical society in persuading Federal Trade Commission to investigate and enter into consent order with association of indoor tanning companies.
  • Represented group of medical societies in challenging transition formula for new component of Medicare physician fee schedule in federal court
  • Defended medical society against lawsuit medical device manufacturer alleging literature review published in society’s peer-reviewed journal disparaged product sold by defendant’s company.

Recent Publications

    • “Registry Growth and Sustainability: Opportunities and Challenges”, CMSS 2018 Registry Summit: The Future of Clinical Registries (May 10, 2018)
    • “Dermpath fraud and abuse: Six scenarios to consider." Co-authored with Christina A. Hughes, JD, MPH, Dermatology World (January 2016)
    • “Concierge Medicine,” co-authored with Sarah J. Imhoff, JD, MHSA and Kate Romanow, JD, Chapter in AHLA Physician Law Handbook (2015 edition)
    • “Guidance on Legal Challenges and Regulatory Obligations for Clinical Data Registries,” Prepared for Physician Clinical Registry Coalition (February 2015)
    • “Dealing with Patient Images," Co-authored with Sarah Imhoff, JD, MHSA, Dermatology World (January 2015)
    • “Network Narrowing: How to Fight a Termination Notice," Co-authored with Catherine I. Hanson, JD, Dermatology World (September 2014)
    • “The Accessible Association: Do Your Meetings and Certifications Comply with the ADA?” Co-authored with Leela Baggett, JD, ASAE Association Law & Policy August 2014
    • “Physician Unions and Other Collective Physician Action Antitrust Risks and Alternatives,” Administrative Eyecare (May/June 2014)
    • “In-Office Anatomic Pathology Under Attack," Co-authored with Samantha D. Marshall, JD, MPH, Dermatology World (May 2014)
    • “Physician Payments Sunshine Act: What Medical Societies Need to Know and Do,” AAMSE 360: Essentials for Medical Society Management, April 9, 2014
    • “HIPAA Enforcement Risk Rises,” Co-authored with Samantha D. Marshall, JD, MPH, Dermatology World (January 2014)
    • “ADA Discrimination Against Hearing-Disabled Patients: Recent Legal Actions Sound Warning Bell for Medical Practices,” Administrative Eyecare (January 2014)
    • “Regulating Workplace Conduct: How Far Can Employers Go?” ASAE Association Law & Policy (November 2013)
    • “Let’s Get Ethical”, Dermatology World (September 2013)
    • “Updated HIPAA Rules Impose New Requirements," Co-authored with Amita A. Sanghvi, JD, MHA, Dermatology World (May 2013)
    • “SuperPACs: Transparency Meets Political Gridlock,” Co-authored with Peggy Tighe, JD, ASAE Association Law & Policy (April 2013)
    • “How Will the DOMA Decision Impact Your Practice?” Co-authored with James M. Winn, Jr., JD, Administrative Eyecare (Spring 2013)
    • “OIG Provides Blueprint for On-Call Compensation of Specialists,” Co-authored with Mark R. Fitzgerald, JD, and Christina A. Hughes, JD, Administrative Eyecare (Spring 2013)
    • “Broad Legal Waivers Enable Physician ACO Participation,” co-authored with Christina A. Hughes, JD, MPH, Dermatology World (January 2013)
    • “FTC Reinforces Guidelines for Association Data Sharing,” ASAE Association Law & Policy (November 2012)
    • “The Physician Payments Sunshine Act—New Challenges and Burdens for Physicians,” co-authored with Johanna Michaels Kreisel, JD, Administrative Eyecare (Fall 2012)
    • “Feds Sweeten ACO Pot with Broad Fraud and Abuse Waivers,” co-authored with Christina A. Hughes, JD, MPH, Administrative Eyecare (Summer 2012)
    • “OIG Issues Limited Guidance Patient Co-Management by Ophthalmologists and Optometrists,” co-authored with Christina A. Hughes, JD, MPH, Administrative Eyecare (Spring 2012)
    • “Healthcare Reform Legal Challenges—All Roads Lead to the Supreme Court,” co-authored with Brandi Taylor, JD, Administrative Eyecare (Winter 2012)
    • “Protecting Your Related Charity in an Election Year,” co-authored with D. Benson Tesdahl, JD, ASAE, Association Law & Policy (January 2012)
    • “Supreme Court Overturns Vermont Prescriber Data-Mining Ban,” Co-authored with Katherine A. Demedis, JD, Administrative Eyecare (Fall 2011)
    • “The ADA Amendment Act of 2008: Practical Implications for Associations Today,” ASAE Association Law & Policy (June 2011)
    • “The Red Flags Rule: Controversy over Application to Physicians,” Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery (May 2011)
    • “Physician-Industry Relationships: he Heat Is On," Co-authored with Johanna Michaels Kreisel, JD, AAO-HNS Bulletin (April 2011)
    • “Managing Paper Records in the Transition to EHR,” Co-authored with Stephanie Cason, JD, Administrative Eyecare (Spring 2011)

Select Earlier Publications

    • "Concierge Medicine: Legal Issues, Ethical Dilemmas, and Policy Challenges," Co-authored with Kate Romanow, JD, AHLA Journal of Health & Life Sciences Law, Volume 1, Number 3, pages 1-38 (April 2008)
    • “Exclusive Contracts: A Double-Edge Sword?,” Journal of the American College of Radiology (March 2007)
    • “Concierge Care: Back to the Future of Medicine?," ABA Health Lawyer,Vol. 15, No. 5 (August 2003)
    • “Legislative Restriction on Medical and Surgical Procedure Patents Removes Impediment to Medical Progress," University of Baltimore, Intellectual Property Law Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring 1996)

Practice Areas


J.D., magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1985

M.P.P., Harvard Kennedy School of Government, 1985

B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Northwestern University, 1980

Bar Memberships

District of Columbia
U.S. District Court
Northern District of Illinois
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

Honors & Awards

Best Lawyers, Healthcare Law, 2021-2022

Washington D.C. Super Lawyers, 2012, 2013, 2020 (Health and Nonprofit Law)

District of Columbia Certificate of Appreciation for work as Chair of Sections Council, 2005 - 2006; Certificate of Appreciation for Health Care Decision-Making Project, Best D.C. Bar Project, Project Co-Chair, 2001; Certificate of Appreciation for Patients Rights Manual, Best Community Outreach Project, Chair of D.C. Bar Health Law Section, 2005

Law Clerk, the Honorable Mark L. Wolf, United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 1985-86

Memberships & Activities

Member, Health Law Sections, American Bar Association and District of Columbia Bar Association; Past Chair, Council on Sections and the Health Law Section District of Columbia Bar

Member, American Health Lawyers Association

Past President, American Society of Medical Association Counsel

Member, American Society of Association Executives; Member, Legal Section Council and Chair, Association Law & Policy Committee, 2005-08.

Past Chair, D.C. Bar Nominations Committee

Mentor, Everybody Wins! D.C., a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting children’s literacy

Coach and Volunteer, Montgomery Cheetahs, a youth ice hockey program for athletes with developmental disabilities