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Aug. 9, 2022

Introducing Women of NM: Healthcare

Featuring: Carrie Hanger

Winston Salem partner Carrie Hanger is a seasoned healthcare law, biosciences, and antitrust attorney. In her healthcare law and biosciences practice, she assists healthcare systems, surgical centers, physician groups, long-term care facilities, hospices, home health providers, and entities engaged in the clinical research across the State of North Carolina and beyond. Carrie's antitrust experience covers a variety of industries with a particular focus on healthcare antitrust matters. Carrie routinely counsels healthcare clients on licensure and certification, enrollment and reimbursement, accreditation, certificate of need, regulatory and compliance issues, and medical staff matters. Carrie has significant arbitration and trial experience, appearing in both state and federal courts as well as in administrative proceedings.

Why healthcare, biosciences, and antitrust?

Healthcare, biosciences, and antitrust are dynamic areas that underpin key functions of our society. The clients I’ve worked with want to do things the “right” way and it’s satisfying and a privilege to partner with clients in achieving their goals.

What are some of the traits that you admire the most amongst your peers?

Collegiality and practicality. I am lucky to work with colleagues who are thoughtful, good people, in addition to being good lawyers. I appreciate collaborating with people to identify not just the technically right answer but also the most practical and effective one.

What is one piece of advice you would give to individuals who want to get into this industry?

More senior colleagues continue to teach me a lot about being a great lawyer.  I am also always learning from others in the practice including paralegals, legal assistants, etc.  We all have a distinct and important role to play in serving clients well and effectively.  I appreciate the team approach.

What are key trends that you are noticing in the industry?

In the biosciences and clinical research arena, the use of artificial intelligence is becoming a bigger issue. In addition, thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a movement to decentralized trials and a shift to the extent possible from in-person data collection to remote data collection (such as through wearables). I expect these trends to continue. In addition, I am continuing to see more and more questions about how biospecimens, whether obtained during the course of clinical research or clinical care, and private information and protected health information are used. More healthcare providers are trying to figure out how to use (and possibly create a revenue stream using) data and biospecimens they already have in clinical research. This issue has existed for years (perhaps the Johns Hopkins/Henrietta Lacks situation is the best known example) but seems to be growing in interest.

With respect to the antitrust aspect of my practice, there has been a heightened focus on the anticompetitive effects of potential transactions by the government. The Biden Administration has taken to have a more aggressive antitrust enforcement emphasis than prior administrations. The FTC and Antitrust Division of the DOJ are in the process of reworking the existing Horizontal and Vertical Merger Guidelines with the goal of modernizing the enforcement of the antitrust laws and have been holding listening sessions as part of that process. Comments made by Chair Lina M. Khan and Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter during the listening sessions reflected this focus on aggressive enforcement and a concern about the lack of choice and opportunities available to consumers due to more consolidation. I expect this focus on antitrust enforcement to continue for the immediate future and recommend that entities considering collaborations or combinations with competitors be especially careful. Along those lines, alleged collusion in the labor markets has been of particular concern to the Agencies.

What inspired you to become an attorney?

I worked for a congressman after graduating from college, and that experience highlighted the tremendous opportunity that lawyers can have to help and impact other people’s lives. I also have always enjoyed solving problems, reading, writing, mulling over things, and getting to be social and develop meaningful relationships with people. Being a lawyer lets me make a living while doing all of these things.

Why do you believe it is important for lawyers to be involved in their communities?

Getting to practice law is a tremendous gift, and with it comes great responsibility. I’ve been fortunate to participate on the boards of several community organizations and to do pro bono work. Board membership has allowed me to support and help further critical work for our community, from creating a guest house to serve the families of hospital patients to providing grants to community organizations and fostering philanthropy among young professionals. Not only is it an honor to get to give a voice to abused, neglected, and dependent children as a guardian ad litem attorney appellate advocate, but it also has given me good appellate experience in addition to the opportunities afforded by my normal practice.

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