Jessica Ellel

Jessica A. Ellel

Jessica A. Ellel Director


Chair of Houston Harbaugh's Health Law Practice, Jessica works almost exclusively with health care entities and health practitioners. She has extensive experience with:

  • Drafting and negotiating physician employment agreements from both the physician and employer perspectives
  • Negotiating contracts between physicians and hospitals
  • Preparing purchase agreements to govern the sale of medical practices
  • Advising on corporate governance issues, from practice formation to dissolution
  • Developing comprehensive compliance plans for physician practices, hospitals, third-party billing administrators, and other health care and related entities
  • Organizing strategies for compliance with fraud and abuse laws
  • Addressing HIPAA compliance

Jessica is especially well-versed in HIPAA compliance and authors numerous client updates and bulletins on the subject. She conducts on-site and remote HIPAA training and also maintains Houston Harbaugh's HIPAA compliance manual, " Federal HIPAA Privacy Standards Simplified: A Comprehensive Tool-Kit".

As an outgrowth of her work with non-profit health care entities, Jessica also helps non-profit organizations and foundations with their corporate affairs, such as obtaining and maintaining 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and handling regulatory compliance matters. Her experience in the non-profit industry includes serving as counsel during the merger of several multi-state non-profits into one regional entity which required communication and information sharing with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office to obtain approval for the transaction.

Jessica frequently publishes articles and presents on issues relating to physician employment agreements, the Affordable Care Act, and other compliance issues. She has published articles in the Allegheny County Medical Society Bulletin and in the Physicians News Digest.

Community Involvement

  • Vice-Chair of the Local Advisory Board for the Western Pennsylvania Division of the Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region
  • Magee Women's Research Institute and Foundation Board of Directors (Leadership On Board Participant, 2008-2010)
  • Leadership Development Initiative XV, 2007-2008
  • Successfully defended client against HIPAA complaint filed with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights
  • Negotiated an exclusive contract between physician practice and hospital
  • Assisted physician practice in securing support from community hospital for recruitment arrangements for new physicians
  • Assisted associate physician in purchasing medical practice from retiring senior physician
  • Drafted EMTALA policies and protocols for community hospital
  • Oversaw formation of small non-profit corporation and assisted in the entity obtaining recognition as a tax exempt entity by the IRS

Featured Articles

Practice Areas


  • University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D. Certification in Health Law, Topics Editor for The Pittsburgh Journal of Technology Law and Policy
  • Cornell University, B.S.

Bar Admissions

  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania


  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2008

Professional Affiliations

  • Current Member and Former Executive Council Member Allegheny County Bar Association's Women in the Law Division
  • Current Council Member and Past Chair Health Law Section of the Allegheny County Bar Association
  • Member National Health Lawyers Association