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ABA Health eSource
 March 2006 Volume 2 Number 7

Chair's Column
by Gregory L. Pemberton, Ice Miller, Indianapolis, IN

Gregory L. PembertonI have just returned from the Seventh Annual Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law Conference held in Tucson, Arizona. I cannot help but hear the phrase from a classic comedy record from the sixties (if you know this obscure reference, my heart goes out to you on a number of levels) "Let me say this about that ..." So here goes.

We have come a long way from the concept and the first version of this event. We gathered in Southern California at a lovely resort (I still remember the live guitar serenades in the afternoons) and held a conference. We met as Interest Groups for the very first time (more on that later). We convened plenary sessions on broader topics and breakout sessions on other topics with great depth and detail. We networked at breaks and at receptions. We talked a lot, we drank a little wine, and in short, we did a fairly unlawyer like thing. We shared valuable insight in a casual relaxed atmosphere without much concern about much else. We even played a little golf. But that too is addressed below.

This year’s event had a very consistent format. The quality of the speakers and topics were top rate. However, the advances in breadth of topics and expertise shared were great in a very short seven years. All did their best to provide practical insight into their topic and best thoughts about the developments that are on the horizon. They succeeded. For that, we can thank not only the presenters but the hard working planning committee as well. David Johnson and Bill Horton, well done.

The contrast in the Interest Group meetings was (with my apologies to the impression this word creates) stark. Seven years ago, my friend Charity Scott and I (and two other lost souls) looked at each other and said, "What now?" and ate our lunch. The next day, Bernadette Broccolo, Bonnie Brier, Fred Gerhart and I (and again a few others) tried our best to identify some topics and have a dialogue. In sharp contrast, this year’s meetings were packed with substantive discussion, timely insight, professional leadership and avid participation. I am truly proud to have watched this evolution.

The Margarita Cup Golf Scramble was also again celebrated. In San Diego, the first cup featured two foursomes and a prize consisting of a cocktail glass borrowed (or did Paul really pay the waitress for it) from the Mexican restaurant where we had dined the night before. Hence the name of the event. This year we had many more groups playing and even a shotgun start. The winning team of Jason Hancock, Steve Ronai and Chair Elect Paul DeMuro will have their names will be added to the stately base of the new improved chalice that is now the Cup. A good time was had by all not only on the course but at the celebration that evening.

The one constant was our maintenance of the relaxed atmosphere where lawyers and other experts shared their insight freely with little pretense or hesitancy. To that point, I thank Past Section Chairs Howard Wall and Patricia Meader for the vision that we have preserved. It was their thought that started the Section down this path and I thank them for that. Thanks also go to my dear friend Sara Keller. Without her call for hospitality, this program would be merely a seminar and not the friendly event it has become. Thanks again to all who have made this possible. By the way, guesses about the obscure reference to sixties comedy should be done off line. It would be too embarrassing for the people who actually know the answer. Take care.