Chair's Column: It's All About Our Members
by Paul R. DeMuro, Latham & Watkins LLP, San Francisco, CA and Jill Peña, American Bar Association, Chicago, IL
Every year, you make a decision as to whether or not there is value in renewing your ABA Health Law Section membership. What does the Section provide that makes membership in the ABA Health Law Section a good value amid the plethora of opportunities you have to join local and specialty bar associations?
The Health Law Section provides a sense of community, whether it is through meeting colleagues face to face at a conference or virtually through list serves and projects. Finding commonality with others who share an interest through one of the Section's Interest Groups is the easiest way to connect with colleagues across the country. The Interest Groups have become the best way to keep up with the rapidly changing health law field. Membership in Interest Groups is a benefit that is open to all members.
We are amazed at the high caliber of members willing to invest in the education of peers through their participation in the Section's live programs, teleconferences, periodical and print projects.
Just last week, over two hundred lawyers gathered at the Washington Healthcare Summit to learn from knowledgeable government and private industry speakers. In addition to the "formal" presentations, the interaction among contemporaries in the private and public arenas was lively and entertaining. We will gather in February at the Emerging Issues Program to engage in yet another extremely thought-provoking and entertaining CLE opportunity and meeting. With over forty teleconferences planned in this bar year, the Section continues its tradition of providing educational opportunities in a cost effective, convenient format. Are you an expert in a health law area? Contact Sena Leach at 312/988-5146 to suggest a teleconference topic or Adam Bielawski at 312/988-5581 if you would like to pen an article for the Health eSource or The Health Lawyer.
The Section has also begun a well received book program. In addition to the three quality books produced with BNA, we will have a second practical guide coming out this spring. Following in the footsteps of our hugely successful HIPAA: A Practical Guide to the Privacy and Security of Health Data, our second offering will be a similarly helpful guide, this time on Medicare Appeals. Both practical guides were proposed by members who saw a need for books on these topics (June Sullivan regarding HIPAA and Kathleen Scully Hayes and Dan Cody for the Medicare Appeals) and developed the projects as a benefit for Section members and others in the profession. We have a couple of other projects in the pipeline as well.
Every month, the ABA Health eSource comes to your inbox with articles and information that helps you keep up with trends in the industry. The Health Lawyer continues its tradition of excellence as one of the best bi-monthly publications that comes across your desk. Both of these great publications are available on the website for your convenience for research and general information.
Health Law Practice
The Health Law Section is at the forefront of representing your interests in the development of health law policy and regulatory comments. Through special task forces and Interest Groups, members have direct impact on the future of health law. Even as we write this, the eHealth, Security and Privacy Interest Group is collaborating on a project to provide a review of various statutes with analysis of how the statutes may impact electronic health records for HHS. The Tax and Accounting Interest Group meets each year with the IRS to lend assistance on various projects. The Breast Cancer Task Force is working to ensure that coverage issues for women and men are addressed by training advocates for patients.
What will the Section provide in the next year or so? As Paul has noted in previous columns, we will address international issues,, continue to emphasize opportunities for all members, and offer fantastic educational programs in a number of forums. However, we are not a static organization. We serve you best by being open to your ideas and projects and by providing opportunities for you to grow and serve.
Thoughts, concerns, observations...Our email addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com...next month...what it means to be a health lawyer and other observations...
My best regards and thanks for reading!
Paul R. DeMuro