As the Barack Obama administration moves in, health care-focused Epstein Becker & Green is preparing for changes in the health care policy environment by ramping up its lobbying capabilities. The firm’s consultancy arm, EBG Advisors, has partnered with government relations firm Oldaker Group to form a joint venture, National Health Advisors.
Before teaming with Oldaker, EBG Advisors did some lobbying, but only “in quite limited circumstances,” says Epstein Becker chairman Doug Hastings. “What obviously this joint venture does is put together the policy analytical capability that’s been a part of the EBG side, and the direct lobbying capability of the Oldaker Group.”
Hastings says Epstein Becker clients have long asked for more lobbying capability from the firm, and since health care is “a major focal point for the new administration,” it was an opportune time to make a move. He says Epstein’s lawyers have known William Oldaker, founder of Oldaker Group, for years.
Six lobbyists and lawyers will lead the joint venture, including Epstein Becker’s Leslie Norwalk, who served in the George W. Bush administration as the acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Oldaker is a longtime Democratic lobbyist, having worked with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and President Bill Clinton.
Hastings says the new team will interact with the legislative branch and also with federal agencies on the regulatory front. Though he declined to name specific clients who have expressed interest in the joint venture’s services, Hastings says “there’s no question we felt there was a demand for this.”