Overview

Stephen M. Cowherd is a Chambers-ranked (Band One) health care attorney who serves as chair of Pullman & Comley's Health Care practice.  He has more than 25 years of experience representing clients in transactions and administrative law matters before state and federal agencies.  Steve regularly advises health care providers on compliance with fraud and abuse laws, Medicare and Medicaid enrollment and reimbursement rules, corporate practice of medicine and patient rights issues, HIPAA, licensure and certificate of need proceedings.  His corporate law experience includes representing hospitals, physician groups and private-equity backed clients in mergers and acquisitions, formation of management service organizations and captive entities, joint ventures and divestitures.

Steve draws on advocacy and communication skills from his unique background to provide clients with clear, practical advice in the heavily-regulated health care industry.  He spent the first seven years of his legal career at an Am Law 50 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, manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies; appellate arguments before the New York State Court of Appeals and Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; and numerous arbitrations and mediations.

Prior to attending law school, Steve worked for a large New York City and Washington, D.C. based media and government relations company, representing clients spanning the health care industry from Bristol-Myers Squibb to 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.

Office

  • Westport
    253 Post Road West
    P.O. Box 3179
    Westport, CT 06880-8180
  • Bridgeport
    850 Main Street
    P.O. Box 7006
    Bridgeport, CT 06601-7006
  • Professional Affiliations

    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

    Community Involvement

    Connecticut Social Venture Partners - member

    Horizons Bridgeport, LLC - board member

    Town of Westport Conservation Committee - commissioner

    Honors & Recognitions

    Listed in The Best Lawyers of America in the area of health care law, 2023

    Listed in Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers to Businesses in the area of healthcare, 2022

    Named a Moffly Media Top Lawyer in Fairfield County, 2021 - Healthcare Law

    Experience

    Steve's transactional experience includes hospital and medical practice mergers and acquisitions, private equity-backed 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
    • Assisting a foreign- based private equity firm in its first ASC and physician practice affiliation in the U.S.
    • Advising a national REIT on acquisition of a managed residential care community and assisted living services agency in Connecticut
    • Assisting a hospital in its selection and contracting with a third-party vendor to manage and operate its on-campus specialty pharmacy and patient liaison programs and the cessation of its relationship with a national retail pharmacy chain
    • Structuring a series of affiliation agreements between a community hospital and a major academic medical center
    • Formation of one of Connecticut’s first behavioral health management services organizations
    • 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 and peer review policies 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
    • Structuring of a three-way joint venture between a university, a Connecticut medical foundation and a specialty provider to oversee and manage a student and faculty health care clinic
    • 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.

    News & Insights

    Speaking Engagements

    Publications

    Blog Posts

    Case Studies

    Industries

    Bar and Court Admissions

    • Connecticut
    • New York
    • U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut
    • U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

    Education

    St. John's University, J.D., high honors, 1991

    State University of New York at Stony Brook, B.A, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1982

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