2020 Legal Elite — Health Law Profile
Peter Mellette, Mellette PC, Williamsburg
Title: President and managing shareholder
Other legal specialties: Administrative law
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Dartmouth College; law degree, University of Richmond
Spouse: Kerry Mellette
Children: Kelsey Mellette and Margot Mellette
First job as a lawyer: Associate at Crews, Hancock & Dunn
Fan of: Live music
Hobbies or pastimes: Swimming, watching tennis, reading
Career mentors: Dr. Peter A. Mellette, Dr. Susan J. Mellette and Thomas F. Hancock III
What are challenges for your clients during the pandemic?
Right now, service delivery continues to be the biggest challenge, as providers adjust to the pandemic environment of care. Balancing service availability and patient needs will continue to be unpredictable.
The Affordable Care Act might be overturned by the Supreme Court. What type of disruption might this cause?
For all the ACA’s shortcomings and the benign neglect/sabotage, it has increased patient access to care while encouraging preventive, less intensive care. If the Supreme Court finds the tax provision of the law unconstitutional and inseverable, providers will experience a loss of significant income for patients now covered by the ACA and Medicaid expansion. A future legislative fix may occur, but not without likely disruption to provider payment and patient access.
We’ve seen some major stories out of U.Va. and VCU about the difficulties of suing patients for large, overdue medical bills. How are health care systems responding to this?
Aggressive collections practices have generated personal bankruptcies, bad press and a consultant cottage industry. Entire daily Virginia court dockets have been dedicated to hospital collection cases. Recent press coverage has shown the human cost of unexpected, underinsured medical visits. Hospitals have responded with greater transparency, educating patients on available payment assistance resources and adjusting collection practices. Ultimately, reduced collections and balance billing restrictions may prompt further provider consolidation.
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