As U.S. Health Care Industry Goes Global, Legal Risks Need To Be Identified and Managed

At Health Care Globalization Summit on May 4-7, leading lawyers at Epstein Becker & Green to offer guidance for an expanding industry

New York (April 30, 2008) — As the U.S. health care industry becomes increasingly global and complex, so do the legal and regulatory challenges for providers, insurers, employers and patients.

Three attorneys from the Health Care and Life Sciences Practice at Epstein Becker & Green (EBG) are offering a workshop that will provide guidance on structuring business relationships in the global health care marketplace at this year's "Health Care Globalization Summit," taking place at the Venetian Resort Hotel in Las Vegas from May 4-7, 2008. Epstein Becker & Green is also a sponsor of The Health Care Globalization Summit.

Among the key areas where the industry is crossing borders and expanding overseas are the "medical tourism" business, the health care institutions, the outsourcing of health care-related services, and telemedicine. But as the industry strives to forge international alliances and create new ventures abroad, it must navigate uncharted territory within existing legal and regulatory regimes.

Dale Van Demark, Purvi Maniar and Kevin Ryan will lead the workshop, entitled "Structuring Business Relationships While Minimizing Risk." The event, part of the "Consumer Health World 2008" conference, brings together U.S. and international health care executives to facilitate conversation about successful strategies and solutions for the global health care market.

"There has been a significant expansion of the global health market," said Van Demark. "However, the expansion must be tied to quality of care. Patients traveling abroad should have quality foremost in their minds, regardless of potential cost savings that may be achieved at a foreign hospital."

Mr. Van Demark added. "Similarly, industry participants must focus on quality issues in order to ensure patient safety and effective treatment, and avoid liability."

The EBG workshop will provide a comprehensive overview of the legal issues that parties must be aware of when structuring global business relationships in the health care field. The workshop will take a practical perspective on the risk and liability issues faced by U.S. participants in the medical tourism, outsourcing and telemedicine industry. The workshop will also discuss approaches to minimizing those risks and liability issues.

Medical tourism is just one of the trends toward globalization in the health care field in the United States, as more individuals, employers and health care companies recognize that foreign hospitals can deliver high-quality health care at an affordable cost. The New York Times has reported that more than 150,000 Americans travel abroad each year for health care services, and it has been estimated that overseas care can trim 60 percent to 80 percent off the price of major surgeries.

"Medical tourism is an intriguing topic and has received a lot of recent press coverage, " said Ms. Maniar. "However, international health care transactions go beyond medical tourism. In addition to advising clients in the medical tourism business, our Global Health Practice at EBG also advises health plans, hospitals and services providers in connection with outsourcing health care related functions, telemedicine, and development of health care facilities abroad."

Ms. Maniar added: "We believe that this trend towards globalization in health care will further accelerate as U.S.-based and international health facilities continue to find opportunities to collaborate on projects in response to the increasing worldwide demand for quality health care at competitive costs."

Outsourcing of health care services has followed the outsourcing trend in other industries as continuously increasing competitive and cost pressures faced by all players in the U.S. health care market provide incentives for them to take advantage of the availability of a mature outsourcing industry seasoned through servicing of less conservative sectors such as technology, finance and retail. Today, a diverse array of health care services such as radiology services, claims processing, medical transcription and health IT may be provided by offshore providers for U.S.-based health care facilities or providers.

Kevin Ryan said: "This globalization is very exciting but it also carries certain risks and liabilities. Health care is such a highly regulated area and having health care services provided aboard increase those risks. "

Dale Van Demark, a Member of the Firm at EBG's Washington, DC office, advises clients on the globalization of U.S. health care—including international and domestic organizations that build or expand medical facilities in developing countries. Mr. Van Demark is often a guest lecturer on medical tourism, and he serves on the Advisory Board of the Health Care Globalization Summit.

Purvi Maniar, a Member of the Firm in the New York office, advises health plans, hospitals, employers, development stage companies and investors in connection with an array of business related legal matters including in the areas of outsourcing of health care related functions, medical tourism, telemedicine and telehealth and international health care center collaborations. Ms. Maniar is often a guest lecturer on global health transactions, and she serves as Co-Chair of the Business Law Section of the North American South Asian Bar Association.

Kevin Ryan, a Senior Attorney in the Chicago office, advises health care clients on an array of legal matters, including regulatory compliance, management service agreements, physician employment agreements and joint venture agreements. Mr. Ryan is often a guest lecturer on medical tourism, and he serves on the Advisory Board of the Health Care Globalization Summit.

Mr. Ryan also will be serving on the "Introduction to Global Health Care" panel during one of the conference's "Health Care Globalization Workshops" on May 5, 2008.

Epstein Becker & Green has a Global Health Practice that is specifically designed to provide clients with an exceptional multi-disciplined team dedicated to understanding and anticipating the development of the globalization of the U.S. health care industry.

About the Health Care Globalization Summit

The Health Care Globalization Summit (formerly the International Medical Tourism Conference) focuses on solutions being developed around quality of care, continuity of care, medical information exchange technology and insurance coverage, and on raising awareness and acceptance among consumers, employers and other U.S. stakeholders for the cost-saving benefits of medical travel.

About Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.

Founded in 1973, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. is a law firm with nearly 400 lawyers practicing in offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark, San Francisco, Stamford and Washington D.C. The Firm's size, diversity, and global affiliations allow its attorneys to address the needs of both small entrepreneurial ventures and large multinational corporations on a worldwide basis.

EBG continues to build and expand its capabilities as a law firm focused on five core practices: Business Law, Health Care and Life Sciences, Labor and Employment, Litigation and Real Estate.


Josh Karlen, EBG Senior Public Relations Manager
(212) 351-3711 (direct) | [email protected]

Sean Hughes, The PR Consulting Group
212-683-8100 ext 239/ [email protected]