Munsch Hardt Fills Gaps in Health Care Practice with Two New Shareholders

By: Brooks IgoRelated Attorney(s): Richard Y. Cheng

The Texas Lawbook

Jan 26, 2017

Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr recently announced that Richard Cheng and Q Stephens – the former co-leaders of Shannon Gracey’s health care practice – have joined the firm’s Dallas office as shareholders.

The additions of Cheng and Stephens provide two new areas of expertise to Munsch Hardt’s health care practice – cannabis law and ERISA/employee benefits.

“The timing was good for us,” Phil Appenzeller, CEO of Munsch Hardt, said. “We saw an opportunity when Shannon Gracey closed its doors. We had a need in the health care space.”

Munsch Hardt’s platform and collaborative culture were among the reasons Cheng and Stephens said they were attracted to the firm.

Cheng advises clients – including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, home health agencies, community hospitals and physician groups – on corporate transactions, regulatory and compliance matters and administrative appeals.

He has also developed an expertise in helping clients navigate issues unique to operating in the cannabis industry.

Cheng noted that, in addition to what happens to the Affordable Care Act with the new administration, the hot topics in health care are reimbursements, clinical outcomes and fraud and abuse. Nearly $20 billion has been recovered in False Claims Act settlements and judgments relating to health care fraud since 2009, according to a Justice Department report.

Stephens focuses his practice on ERISA, employee benefits, executive compensation and health care compliance matters. He also helps employers design and implement workplace wellness programs.

The SMU Dedman School of Law graduate says ERISA litigation is growing explosively. Stephens, who advises clients on ACA compliance “soup to nuts,” is paying close attention to the latest developments with the hotly-debated law.

“Folks that want to repeal ACA are like the dog that caught the car,” he said. “They are not sure what they are going to do now that they caught it.”