Heather has devoted her career to advocating for medical practices, individual physicians, and those in the healthcare industry. Heather started in-house at a managed care organization. She then opened her own practice to assist healthcare providers who handle the day-to-day hassles of complex rules, regulations, and payment frustrations. For fourteen years, she built her practice from the ground up into a thriving business. Then, in 2013 she joined Nicole Gardner, creating the Gardner Skelton Law Firm. Joining the firm provided her and her clients a larger support team with expanded practice areas. Heather advises on a myriad of healthcare issues, including:
- Increasing commercial payor reimbursement
- Payor dispute appeals
- Practice start-ups
- HIPAA compliance plans, risk assessments, and training
- Compliance with state and federal healthcare laws, including Stark, Anti-Kickback, and the False Claims Act
- Corporate compliance plans, including OIG and Medicare compliance
- Physician employment agreements with a private practice or a healthcare system
- Managing employee legal issues in a medical practice
- Guidance regarding the Medical Board Position Statements
- Responding to patient complaints
- Contract drafting and/or negotiation of various transactional matters, including commercial leases, vendor contracts, and electronic health records license agreements
Heather's Practice Area
- Tulane University Law School, J.D., 1995
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.S., 1992
- North Carolina State Bar
- Mecklenburg County Bar
- American Health Lawyers Association
Heather is also a highly sought-after speaker to both local and national specialty healthcare groups.
- American Institute of Healthcare Compliance, “EHR: The Medical Record as a Legal Document,” October 2019
- Charlotte Area Health Education Center, “What Makes a Good Payer Contract,” November 2018
- NC Health Information Management Association meeting, “What Is Part-2 and How Does It Apply to You?: Protecting the Privacy of Substance Abuse Records,” October 2018
- Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, NC Pediatric Society, “What to Look for in a Good Contract,” April 2018
Heather is a strong ally for healthcare providers. Her positive outlook and friendly nature make it easy to work through any challenge or obstacle her clients may be facing. Being an entrepreneur herself, Heather is practical with budgets and resources. Heather starts by listening to ensure she understands each client’s unique needs and goals. Heather thinks through each client’s issues in a thorough and methodical way – working on finding connections between issues and creating efficiencies. Colleagues and clients enjoy working with her and building camaraderie through projects.
Making a Difference
Heather's passion for helping others extends beyond the firm's doors and reaches her neighbors and surrounding community. She dedicates her time and energy to impact lives when and where she can.
As an American Institute of Healthcare Compliance Board Member, Heather commits her time and talents to help members resolve disputes, review proposed class materials, create new classes, and present at seminars. Heather and the organization's founder once routinely had speaking engagements together. Inspired by the founder's philosophy of education, she joined the board to make a difference for practice managers and healthcare workers.
Heather also loves anything outside - hiking, camping, being on the water, and more. Fortunately, through the Boy Scouts of America, she can combine her love for the outdoors with spending time with her family and volunteering for a great cause. Heather coordinates all of the Board of Reviews for rank advancements and chaperones camping and hiking trips. Both her boys are scouts, and she gets to see first-hand the impact it has on their lives. She loves what it teaches them and their friends - independence, teamwork, survival skills, and other life lessons while striving to earn a merit badge.
More about Heather
Heather was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. Even as a kid, she was always on the hunt for a side gig, from babysitting and being a lifeguard, although with no real prior swim experience, to getting a real estate license; turning a hobby into profit comes second nature to Heather. As an entrepreneur and lawyer, she successfully built a solo law firm from scratch while also being new to the Charlotte area and not having a single client. Even today, Heather continues to innovate and achieve new things.
In addition to participating in outdoor activities, she has completed four marathons, four sprint triathlons, ran many more races, and participated in swim meets. Heather's also an avid reader. You can easily find her head buried in a good book. Tilly, Heather's sweet puppy, keeps her on her toes. Tilly's energy is endless, and she could run and play for days. Her big personality attracts almost anything that moves, be those bunnies, squirrels, birds, and, most of all, humans.