Karen Owens

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Karen represents health care systems, hospitals, clinics, and other providers in matters of quality management, medical staff credentialing and peer review, medical staff structures, bylaws and confidentiality, as well as National Practitioner Data Bank, state professional board, and other government reporting. She also regularly assists health care providers with state licensure and Medicare certification, survey compliance, EMTALA, Joint Commission accreditation, , patient consent, end-of-life, and many other regulatory matters touching clinical operations. In addition, Karen advises health care clients in peer review, antitrust, contracting, negligent credentialing, and other disputes related to hospital/medical staff relationships. She has substantial experience handling contested matters before administrative bodies including hospital, surgery center and managed care peer review panels, Medicare QIOs, and many state professional boards, and when possible, resolving such matters short of hearing. Karen also regularly works with the firm’s litigators on litigation involving credentialing and peer review, patient consent, end-of-life, and other clinically-related issues. Karen spends each spring immersed in state legislative issues affecting providers. In all these areas, Karen works with a wide range of providers including urban, academic, community, and rural hospitals, clinician practices, outpatient clinics, and surgery centers.

Representative Matters

  • Counseling hospitals on pandemic issues, including emergency department overcrowding, EMTALA, and regulatory waiver application.
  • Counseling hospitals and medical staff leaders on peer review procedures and options.
  • Drafting and revising/updating medical staff bylaws, rules and regulations, and policies and procedures.
  • Representing institutional providers in contested practitioner peer review matters, including hearings, appeals, litigation, settlement, and state and federal reporting. Karen has represented medical staff leadership in several dozen peer review hearings.
  • Assisting health care institutions in compliance with federal and state health care-related civil rights provisions.
  • Counseling the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association on legislative and regulatory developments.
  • Helping health care entities obtain state facility licenses and respond to surveys and deficiency statements from state and federal agencies and The Joint Commission, development of plans of correction and dispute resolution statements; and in enforcement proceedings.
  • Litigation of peer review. medical staff-related, end-of-life, transfusion,and consent cases with the firm’s litigators.
  • Consulting with malpractice defense attorneys in negligent credentialing cases.

Awards & Recognitions

  • PHOENIX Magazine: Top Lawyers (2023)
  • Chambers USA: Health Care, Arizona Band 1 (2015 – present)
  • Best Lawyers®: 2012 Health Care Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Phoenix
  • The Best Lawyers in America©: Health Care Law (2000 – present); Antitrust Law (2004 – present); Administrative/Regulatory Law (2023 – present)
  • Southwest Super Lawyers: Health Care (2010 – 2024)
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® rated
  • Arizona’s Top Rated Lawyers

Publications & Speeches

  • Presenter, “Rules around transgender patient care and how organizations can be more welcoming for transgender individuals,” AAPC and the American Health Lawyers Association’s 2023 Collaborative Compliance Conference (Nov. 2023) 
  • Presenter, “The 3-Year Credentialing Cycle,” Arizona Association of Medical Staff Services Fall Conference (Aug. 18, 2023) 
  • Presenter, “The End of Roe: Understanding the Legal Implications for Patients and Providers” Arizona Society of Healthcare Attorneys, Arizona Health Law Conference (Feb. 24, 2023) 
  • Presenter, “Arizona Health Law Annual Review” Arizona Society of Healthcare Attorneys, Arizona Health Law Conference (Feb. 24, 2023) 
  • Editor, EMTALA MANUAL – 2022 EDITION, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (2022) 
  • Co-author and editor, CONSENT MANUAL, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (2020, 2014, and 2009 editions) 
  • Author, “New Peer Review Decisions Confirm Basic Principles and Answer Some Questions,” Arizona Society of Healthcare Attorneys (April 12, 2022) 
  • Author, “Update on the Status of the Section 1557 Health Care Non-Discrimination Regulations,” Arizona Society of Healthcare Attorneys (Oct. 7, 2021) 
  • Co-presenter, “Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act: What Health Care Lawyers Need to Know,” Arizona Society of Healthcare Attorneys (Aug. 17, 2021) 
  • Commenter, “Best Practices for Recruiting Peer Review Committee Members,” Hospital Peer Review (Mar. 1, 2021) 
  • Commenter, “Making Sense of It All: Business, the Law and COVID-19,” In Business (Feb. 2021) 
  • Commenter, “Handle Peer Review Records Carefully to Ensure the Most Legal Protection,” Hospital Peer Review (Sep. 1, 2020) 
  • Presenter, “EMTALA for Medical and Hospital Professionals,” to Hospital Emergency Services Physicians and Staff (Aug. 2020)   
  • Author, “Update: ADHS Issues Guidance on Re-Starting Elective Surgeries,” Coppersmith Briefs (Apr. 29, 2020) 
  • Author, “Antitrust Enforcers Weigh in on COVID-19,” Coppersmith Briefs (Apr. 23, 2020) 
  • Author, “New Executive Order Sets Forth Conditions for Reinstatement of Elective Surgeries,” Coppersmith Briefs (Apr. 23, 2020) 
  • Author, “Arizona Medical and PA Boards Act to Make Licensure Easier for COVID-19,” Coppersmith Briefs (Apr. 16, 2020) 
  • Author, “The “Good Samaritan” Executive Order: Declaration of Good Faith Immunity for Providers Supporting the Emergency Response,” Coppersmith Briefs (Apr. 16, 2020) 
  • Co-author, “New and Improved: Arizona Health Profession Boards Respond to COVID-19,” Coppersmith Briefs (Apr. 16, 2020) 
  • Author, “Waiver of Government Impediments to Expansion of Beds, Structures, and Workforce: Where Things Stand Today,” Coppersmith Briefs (Apr. 1, 2020) 
  • Presenter, “Medical Staff Governance: Credentialing, Peer Review, Corrective Action and Bylaws, an Overview for the Board,” Hospital Board retreat (Nov. 2019)  
  • Presenter, “Government Reporting of Medical Staff Actions: Key Points for Medical Staff Leaders,” Medical Staff leadership retreat (Feb. 2019) 
  • Presenter, “Peer Review Investigation Corrective Action Reporting: An Overview,” Hospital Executive Committee and Governing Board programs (Sep. and Dec. 2018) 
  • Presenter, “Medical Staff Matters and Arizona Law and Regulations,” Hospital System Leadership Retreat (Oct. 2018) 
  • Co-presenter, Legal Issues in Transgender Healthcare, American Health Lawyers Association Annual Meeting (June 2018)  
  • Presenter, “What You Need to Know about the Suspension of Medical Staff Privileges,” Arizona Association of Medical Staff Services (Apr. 2018) 
  • Presenter, “Medical Staff Tools for Addressing Disruptive Physician Conduct,” Hospital Medical Executive Committee program (Feb. 2018)  
  • Presenter, “Peer Review, Negligent Credentialing, and Effective Committee Minutes,” Hospital System Medical Staff Services Professionals Learning Day (Nov. 2017)  
  • Presenter, “Credentialing and Ongoing Peer Review: Roles and Responsibilities,” Hospital and Medical Staff meeting (Oct. 2017) 

Activities & Memberships

  • Member, American Health Lawyers Association and American Bar Association Health Law Section (1984 – present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Arizona Society of Healthcare Attorneys (2013 – present, 1992 – 96), Programming Co-Coordinator (2022 – present)
  • Co-founder, Arizona Association of Healthcare Lawyers (now Arizona Society of Healthcare Attorneys)
  • Member, Governance Board, Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Phoenix (2018 – present)
  • Member, John P. Frank Memorial Lecture Advisory Committee, Arizona State University (2009 – present)
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Temple Solel, Paradise Valley, Arizona (2006 – 2014)


  • Hon. Mary Schroeder, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1983 – 1984

Education & Admissions

  • J.D., Vanderbilt Law School, 1983; Order of the Coif; Articles Editor, Vanderbilt Law Review, 1982 – 1983
  • A.B., Brown University, 1978
  • Admitted in Arizona and Washington D.C., 1984

Karen C. Owens
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Owens, Karen
Top Lawyer 2023