Chair's ColumnA recent headline from our local newspaper read "A Cure For What Ails Health Care." The opinion editorial articles that followed tried to answer that challenging question. It started me thinking about the practice of law and the healthcare industry. Those are two subjects about which I have a bit of history in that my legal career has followed the collision of the two.
by Gregory L. Pemberton, Ice Miller, Indianapolis, IN
Access to Care Issues Consumers Continue to Face as a Result of Katrina
by Priscilla D. Keith, General Counsel, Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indianapolis, IN
Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest hurricanes in the nation’s history. It not only caused widespread devastation but also resulted in the largest migration or displacement of people since reconstruction. Many lost their homes, jobs and connection to family. Food, shelter, and access to healthcare were critical during the immediate aftermath of the hurricane and continue to be for thousands of displaced citizens.
Spanish Influenza in New Mexico, 1918–1919: The Role of State and Local Public Health Legal Measures
by Clifford M. Rees, JD, Adjunct Professor, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Center for Disaster Medicine, Albuquerque, NM
The surge of recent publicity concerning Avian Influenza and the possibility of an outbreak of the next pandemic influenza provides impetus for health lawyers to review the lessons learned from the public health legal measures used to respond to the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919. Not since the Asian Flu of 1957-1958, which killed approximately 70,000 Americans, and the Hong Kong Flu, which killed approximately 34,000 Americans during the winter of 1968-1969, has the American legal system needed to confront the issue of the use of public health legal measures to respond to a wide-spread infectious disease. New Mexico’s response to the Spanish Flu pandemic highlighted both the successes and failures of the public health laws then in place to combat the disease.
Community Benefits: The Growing Trend in Accountability
by Michael A. DeLucia, Esq., Senior Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice of the State of New Hampshire, Concord, NH
Community benefits continues to develop as a key accountability tool for ensuring that nonprofit hospitals provide the charitable services that are inherent in their status as 501(c)(3) entities. For example, in November 2004, the Public Health Institute, based in Oakland, California, issued its recommendations in “Advancing the State of the Art in Community Benefit: A User’s Guide to Excellence and Accountability.” In September 2005, the National Advisory Committee to that project met to discuss community benefit standards being developed in nonprofit hospitals in two critical states – Texas and California. These pilot programs are intended to serve as models for use in other states. In October 2005, at the ABA ’s “Washington Healthcare Summit,” Roger Colinvaux, the legislative counsel for the Joint Committee on Taxation of the United States Congress, focused on community benefits in his presentation. Community benefits, he noted, is the distinguishing element between for-profit and non-profit hospitals. Finally, a national conference on community benefits has been organized for March 2006 in Arizona by several of the leading authorities in this area, including Catholic Health Association and VHA, Inc.
Interest Group Spotlight
Public Health & Policy
The Public Health & Policy Interest Group provides leadership to the ABA Health Law Section, and the ABA at large, in the area of public health and policy matters. The Interest Group members will monitor developments on matters as diverse as control of disease and other public health threats outside of institutional settings, balancing privacy and other civil rights against public health considerations and education of the public concerning public health and policy issues. The Interest Group will also become involved in the interaction of state and local bar associations with local public health officials to promote public health and policy initiatives. The Interest Group provides a forum for members with differing educational backgrounds to focus on public health and policy issues and initiatives. The Interest Group also coordinates its activities with other Interest Groups, such as Medical Research and Clinical Ethical Issues, as well as with organizations outside of the ABA, such as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The IG is led by Chair Hal S. Katz, Brown McCarroll LLP, Austin, TX and Vice Chairs Michael S. DeLucia, Department of Justice of the State of New Hampshire, Concord, NH; Kathleen H. Drummy, Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Priscilla D. Keith, Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indianapolis, IN and Montrece Ransom, Attorney Analyst, Public Health Law Program, Office of the Chief of Public Health Practice, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Atlanta, GA.
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|The opinions expressed are those of the authors and shall not be construed to represent the policies or positions of the ABA or the ABA Health Law Section. |