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Adding another ancillary business to its roster, Philadelphia-based Duane Morris has acquired a provider of continuing educational materials for medical professionals. The firm’s latest venture also bears its Wescott brand name. According to a Duane Morris news release, the newly formed Wescott Professional Publications offers home-study courses, resource guides, compact discs, and Internet courses covering medical-legal issues that affect physicians and health care providers. News of the firm’s 10th acquisition comes just two months after Duane Morris’ announcement of the creation of American Healthcare Providers Insurance Services Co., manager of the day-to-day operations of the Pennsylvania Healthcare Providers Insurance Exchange. Pennsylvania Healthcare was formed to offer medical malpractice insurance to doctors and hospitals, and American Healthcare is slated to provide claims adjustment, underwriting and accounting services to the nonprofit exchange. Duane Morris chairman Sheldon Bonovitz said approval of the insurance exchange is expected shortly from the state Insurance Department. According to Bonovitz, his firm’s new enterprise fits well with its existing health law practice and recent entry into medical malpractice insurance. Health law practitioners at Duane Morris have been preparing medical-legal educational materials for more than 25 years for in-house and client use, Bonovitz said. Thus, Wescott Professional has allowed Duane Morris to take advantage of its in-house knowledge base as well as leverage the experience of affiliates like American Healthcare. Duane Morris acquired the company from Infinity Risk Care, a subsidiary of former client Pennsylvania Medical Society Liability Insurance Co., Bonovitz said. Apparently Duane Morris had been preparing the educational materials offered by Infinity Risk, so when PMSLIC decided to get out of the continuing education business, the firm jumped at the chance to take the reins of what it perceived as an underserved subsidiary company, hoping to push its products onto the physician community’s radar screen. Bonovitz said Wescott Professional is expected to bring upward of $500,000 to the firm’s bottom line next year. And, he said, the firm would be disappointed if it didn’t add considerably to that bottom line in coming years. Kathaleen F. Lilley, who previously headed marketing at Infinity Risk, will stay on as Wescott’s chief executive officer. “I think it’s a perfect time for the blending of the legal concepts and being able to make things a lot easier for a profession that is experiencing a lot of change … what I would call a remarkable amount of change, in the way they’re being regulated by federal as well as local governments,” she said. “Duane Morris has been doing this for physicians for over 25 years … and now we just have a vehicle to be able to take that out beyond the client base and make it available for everyone.” Duane Morris is also hoping to parlay Lilley’s publishing knowhow and venture into areas outside the physician community, Bonovitz said. Lilley said educational courses for pharmacists and human resources professionals are possibilities, and the news release indicates insurance and employee benefits as possible additions. Among Wescott Professional’s initial offerings are two publications related to the Health Insurance Privacy and Accountability Act and a guide that covers fraud and abuse compliance issues for physicians and health care providers.

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