Corporate Counsel: Survey: M&A Is the Top Priority for Health Care GCs

Originally Published in Corporate Counsel | January 8, 2016 | By Sue Reisinger

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 7.12.32 AMShowing that wheeling and dealing is on their minds, health care general counsel in a recent survey cited mergers and acquisitions as their No. 1 priority in 2016. Some 94 percent of the GCs said they are either involved or extremely involved in M&A activity.

Also weighing heavily on their minds is the risk of data breaches, with over two-thirds saying they don’t believe their emergency preparedness plan covers all risk exposure adequately. The top risk they cited was cybersecurity.

“M&A in health care is hot,” says Paul Mandell, founder and CEO of executive event coordinator Consero Group, which conducted the survey at a forum of health care GCs in Nashville in September. “And one of the key concerns when embarking on a merger or acquisition is identifying risks lurking in the target company, with the big ones being data security and HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] compliance.”

Mandell calls it “alarming” that nearly 40 percent of GCs indicated their systems were not prepared for cybersecurity incidents.

“It’s pretty troubling,” he adds, “particularly since over one-third of those surveyed had a cyberbreach last year.”

Consero surveyed 46 GCs from midsize to large U.S. hospital and health care systems and made the survey report available to Corporate Counsel Friday. The poll was designed, conducted and analyzed in partnership with health care law firm Bass, Berry & Sims, based in Tennessee and Washington D.C.

In other findings, the survey reported:

  • Nearly a third of GCs cited access to budget resources as the greatest impediment to their department’s progress.
  • Concern about regulatory changes and new legislation also ranked as a high priority.
  • Some 73 percent said their board members are involved/extremely involved in matters relating to quality of care. “Boards have traditionally been very involved in M&A and financing issues,” Mandell notes. “But that boards are now taking an active role in the quality of care, I think, is a good sign.”