Erin Drummy’s Bedside Manner

One woman’s journey from respiratory therapy to the law

Published in 2011 Indiana Rising Stars — March 2011

Erin Drummy has always been fascinated by hospitals. This may be because she comes from a family with deep roots in the medical field: Her grandfather was a doctor, her grandmother a nurse, and her father a medical malpractice attorney.

Even though medical school and nursing weren’t in Drummy’s future—she couldn’t stomach the “blood … puking … and other bodily functions,” she says—she still wanted to care for patients. After graduating from Indiana University, Drummy had her chance, working as a registered respiratory therapist at St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital from 1998 to 2004. Although helping children in the pediatrics unit was inspiring and rewarding, she says she wanted a new challenge.

“I felt like I was good at my job and it was comfortable, but I wasn’t sure that there was enough there that I would be content in 15, 20 years doing the same thing,” she recalls. “And so I started looking at other opportunities.”

Her search ended at her family’s other tradition: law. “I’d love to say it was this grand plan; it really wasn’t,” Drummy says. She joined Indianapolis firm Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman after graduating from Indiana University School of Law in 2005.

At Hall Render, Drummy’s practice is split between advising hospitals, physicians and physician groups on various aspects of health care law with a large focus on fraud and abuse law. Much of her time is spent counseling clients on the federal Stark and anti-kickback laws that surround hospital-physician relationships. She has to stay on her toes to keep up with the constant regulatory changes, but that’s why she loves her job. “It’s just changing at light speed, especially with the health reform,” she says. “But it makes it exciting, it really does.”

It can be difficult for health care providers to keep up with changes and avoid violations, she says. By removing the legal roadblocks, Drummy says she’s doing her part to help patients. When she tackles the complex matters behind the scenes, her clients can focus on providing good care. “I feel like even though I’m not getting to be at the bedside, and not taking care of patients or their families, I am still on the same side,” she says. “Those are the people I’m working for. … When I go to sleep at night, I feel good about helping those who are providing care.”

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