Stephen M. Cowherd focuses his practice in the areas of health care and administrative law. He has more than 20 years of experience representing clients before regulatory agencies and advising health care providers on compliance with fraud and abuse laws, Medicare and Medicaid enrollment and reimbursement rules, medical staff matters, patient rights issues, HIPAA, licensure and certificate of need proceedings. His transactional experience includes representing both hospitals and physicians in joint ventures, medical practice acquisitions, as well as mergers and reorganizations.
Steve spent the first seven years of his legal career at a large international law firm where he represented Fortune 500 clients in complex commercial litigation, regulatory compliance and internal investigation matters. His litigation experience includes: jury and bench trials in New York and Connecticut federal and state courts for health care, insurance, media, manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies; appellate arguments before the New York State Court of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and New York Supreme Court Appellate Division; AAA, AHLA, and NASD arbitrations and a one-year assignment representing New York City as Special Assistant Corporation Counsel.
Prior to attending law school, Steve worked for Doremus Porter Novelli, a large New York City and Washington, D.C. based media and government relations company, representing clients such as Bristol-Myers Squibb and U.S. Healthcare. As a result, he also has significant experience in working with boards and senior management in developing corporate and crisis communication strategies directed at key stakeholders.
Steve's transactional experience includes hospital and medical practice mergers and acquisitions, hospital-physician joint ventures, health system reorganizations as well as formation, purchases and sales of ambulatory surgery, imaging and other specialized treatment centers. Steve also has vast experience in certificate of need, licensure and other regulatory proceedings. A sampling of these matters include the following:
- Representation of a university health center in a clinical integration with a regional health system and transfer of its NICU to a children’s hospital
- Structuring a series of affiliation agreements between a community hospital and a major academic medical center
- Counseling state health insurance exchange on developing ACA-compliant practices and procedures
- Advising health systems on acquisitions of freestanding ASCs and conversion to HOPDs
- Development of Stark and IRS compliant recruitment arrangements between tax-exempt hospitals and group practices
- Establishing concierge medical practices; forming non-profit medical foundations; affiliating community-based health clinics with an FQHC
- Revising medical staff bylaws for Joint Commission review
- Representing peer review bodies in terminations/suspensions of physician privileges
- Drafting contracts involving medical director, co-management and ACO arrangements as well as EMR and managed care agreements
- Successful prosecution of a hospital CON application for interventional cardiac program opposed by competitors
- Dismissal of an Office of Civil Rights investigation into a hospital and affiliated group practice for HIPAA violations
- Negotiation of a favorable Consent Order for a clinical laboratory in a billing and compliance investigation conducted by Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
- Representation of a health care provider in the remand and rescission of a licensing board’s drug diversion finding
- Positive resolution of an Attorney General investigation into a hospital’s use of charitable assets in a cy pres action
- Reduction of overpayment claims against a hospital in a redetermination proceeding and appeal to an ALJ
- Counsel to hospitals and specialty providers in proceedings under the CMS, OIG and Connecticut DSS self-disclosure protocols; and multiple representations of health care entities and physicians in MAC, ZPIC and Medicaid audits as well as related DOJ investigations.
- Connecticut Health Lawyers Association - Vice President and Board of Directors member
- Connecticut Bar Association, Health Law Section - Executive Committee member
- American Health Lawyers Association - Stark Law, Physician Organizations and Reimbursement Sections
- American Bar Association - Health Law and Litigation Sections
- Fordham University School of Law - Adjunct Professor, 1997-1998; 2000-2002
- Town of Westport PAL and Little League - coach
- Westport Sunrise Rotary - member