The Immediate Past Chair’s Comments
Article Date: Thursday, July 26, 2012
Written By: Sandy Van Der Vaart
It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as chair of the Health Law Section during the past year and I want to thank the section officers, council members, committee participants and Lynda Imhoff for all of their support. Thanks to their dedication and enthusiasm, we were able to make significant progress on two public education projects, interact with law students at Elon Law School, and host a very successful Annual Meeting and CLE Program.
As previously reported, the Health Law Section is continuing its work on the End-of-Life Public Education Campaign by developing materials to educate the general public about the importance of having conversations with loved ones about end-of-life issues before a health crisis hits. As part of this campaign, we are excited about the release of a professionally-prepared educational DVD which was funded by the Bar Association Endowment Committee in May 2010 in the amount of $12,381. Filming has been completed and the DVD is now being edited by the End-of-Life Steering Committee, working in conjunction with the Bar Association’s professional staff. The DVD, along with pre- and post-training materials, provides information to assist patients, families, and caregivers in understanding available end-of-life care and planning options. We also have a dedicated website for the project, www.AGiftToYourFamily.org (primary) and www.AGiftToYourFamily.com (reserved to avoid others from reserving or using). In addition to hosting the DVD, the website will provide more in-depth information, forms, a toolkit, and perhaps e-learning modules.
The section also continued its support of the Safe Haven Project, which educates the public about North Carolina’s infant abandonment law. The N.C. law allows a parent to give up a newborn child under seven days old safely and anonymously without risking criminal prosecution. In order to increase awareness, the Health Law Section continues to produce and send out brochures and posters on the infant abandonment law to libraries and other organizations.
In February, the council meeting was held at Elon Law School, which gave Council members an opportunity to visit the Law School and interact with students. Working with the Elon Law School Career Office and the student leadership of the Society of Health Law and Bioethics, we organized a panel discussion on the day-to-day practice of health law. It was a lively discussion and the feedback from students and Council members was overwhelmingly positive. The council plans to enhance and expand our outreach efforts to North Carolina law schools during the coming year. In addition, the Section’s Long-Range Planning Committee is evaluating how the Health Law Section might assist in coordinating and delivering lectures on health law topics to interested law schools in the state.
The Health Law Section’s Annual Meeting and CLE was held on April 20, 2012 at the Bar Center in Cary. Don Esposito, Alicia Gilleskie, and Allyson Labban, the CLE program planners, put together an outstanding list of topics and speakers. Maureen O’Connor, Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, gave the Keynote Address on Delivery System and Market Impacts of Health Reform. This was followed by a panel discussion on Health Care Fraud Enforcement with Chris Brewer (Poyner & Spruill), Neal Fowler (Assistant U.S. Attorney, United States Department of Justice), Mike Gordon (K&L Gates) and Charles Hobgood (Director, Medicaid Investigations Unit, North Carolina Department of Justice). Other sessions included Social Media and Healthcare presented by Freddie Zufelt (Smith Anderson Blount Dorsett Mitchell & Jernigan), Accountable Care Organizations 101 presented by Bo Bobbitt (Smith Anderson Blount Dorsett Mitchell & Jernigan), Regulations and Risks Inherent in the Use of Mobile Health Devices and Applications presented by Clara Cottrell (Smith Moore Leatherwood), and Thriving and Engagement in Life and Work presented by John Doyle (LabCorp). A highlight of the Annual Meeting was the presentation of the Health Law Section’s Distinguished Service Award to Karen Gledhill who practices with Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson.
The Health Law Section, along with the Duke University School of Medicine and the North Carolina Society of Health Care Attorneys, sponsored a joint CLE/CME program, held on June 15, 2012 at the Duke University North Pavilion in Durham. The program, “What’s Up, Doc, with the Future of Healthcare Law?” included topics such as Healthcare Reform and the Coming Supreme Court Case, Integration of Health Care Organizations, Fraud and Abuse, Controlled Substance Prescribing, Medical Malpractice Reform, the IACT Program, and Unique Features of Medical Malpractice Litigation in North Carolina.
On July 1, the newly appointed and elected Health Law Section Council Officers and Members began the 2012-2013 Term. Patricia Markus (Smith Moore Leatherwood) is the incoming chair and Sissy Holloman (LabCorp) will serve as vice-chair. Jim Wall (Wall Esleeck Babcock) will serve as secretary and Joe Kahn (Nexsen Pruet) will serve as treasurer. New Council Members include Todd Hemphill (Bode Call & Stroupe), Kim Kirk (Moore & Van Allen), Jodi Knox (Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice), Jessica Scott (Carolina Dispute Settlement Services) and Kate Stelmach (New Hanover Regional Medical Center). I wish these new Officers, the new and returning Council Members and all of you the very best in the coming year.
Views and opinions expressed in articles published herein are the authors' only and are not to be attributed to this newsletter, the section, or the NCBA unless expressly stated. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of all citations and quotations.