Bar Admissions

  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia


  • J.D., with honors, University of Maryland School of Law, 1996
  • M.A., Middlebury College, 1993
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Brown University, 1992
    Phi Beta Kappa
T +1 410.244.7747
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Thora A. Johnson


Thora Johnson co-chairs Venable's Healthcare Initiative. She provides counsel on regulatory, compliance, tax, and business matters impacting healthcare providers, hospitals, continuing care retirement communities, health insurers, group health plans, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and digital health companies. She has a broad knowledge of traditional healthcare regulatory matters, including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy, security, and breach notification requirements; state health information privacy laws; Medicare/Medicaid compliance; and federal and state fraud and abuse rules. She has also closely followed, and provided counsel on, healthcare reform through all of its stages of development and continues to track and provide guidance on it as it evolves.

In addition, Thora has extensive experience in health and welfare plan compliance, including the regulatory requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code, federal and state healthcare coverage continuation laws, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applicable to employer wellness programs, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Thora is also experienced in employee benefits and executive compensation and nonprofit tax matters.

Representative Matters


  • Structuring HIPAA compliance and incident response programs for healthcare providers, health plans, and their business associates.
  • Representing a large health insurance company in negotiating and implementing a HIPAA Resolution Agreement and Corrective Action Plan with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
  • Representing covered entities and business associates in Phase 2 HIPAA desk audits.
  • Representing covered entities and business associates in resolving complaints with the regional offices of OCR.
  • Helping numerous clients with investigating and responding to potential HIPAA breaches, including preparation of risk assessments and notices to affected individuals and OCR.

Health and Welfare Plan Compliance
  • Advising employers on how healthcare reform affects their health plans, including how to provide ACA-compliant health coverage to avoid Employer Penalties, appeal eligibility determinations made by the health insurance exchanges, report offers of health coverage, and comply with new disclosure obligations.
  • Providing day-to-day advice on health and welfare compliance to employers, including drafting plan documents, summary plan descriptions, and summaries of benefits and coverages, and negotiating administrative services agreements.
  • Counseling employers on alternative means of providing healthcare, including onsite medical clinics and private exchanges.
  • Serving as ERISA -counsel in lawsuits brought against health plans and health insurers by out-of-network providers.
  • Providing guidance to association health plans on applicable rating rules and mandates under the ACA and state law.

Other Healthcare Regulatory Compliance
  • Advising on Section 1557 nondiscrimination requirements applicable to certain healthcare providers, health insurers, and group health plans.
  • Representing multiple clients regarding their compliance obligations as First Tier, Downstream, and Related Entities (FDRs) to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.
  • Counseling wellness companies on a wide variety of complex regulatory and corporate issues, including HIPAA, the ACA, regulations on wellness programs issued under the ADA, Medicare and Medicaid compliance, and other miscellaneous federal and state regulatory matters, such as state laws pertaining to the provision of healthcare cost estimates.
  • Counseling digital health companies and mobile app developers in all aspects of healthcare regulatory compliance.
  • Counseling a multi-national financial services company regarding the federal and state fraud and abuse implications of a transaction with a large healthcare provider.


Thora is a member of the American Diabetes Association's Community Leadership Board. She is also on the board for Healthcare for the Homeless, an organization providing comprehensive healthcare services and supportive services to people experiencing homelessness. She also serves on the board of The Robert Garrett Fund at Johns Hopkins University. The fund has long supported the pediatric surgical program at Johns Hopkins. 

Thora is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association and its Health Law Section and its Study Group for Employee Benefits, and the Tax Section of the District of Columbia Bar, the Tax Section of the American Bar Association, the American Health Lawyers Association, and the Healthcare Compliance Association. She is also a member of the American Diabetes Association’s Community Leadership Board.