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ABA Health eSource
September 2008 Volume 5 Number 1

Chair's Column
by Vickie Yates Brown, Frost Brown Todd LLC, Louisville, KY

Vickie Yates BrownIn my inaugural column as the new chair of the ABA Health Law Section, I thought it would be helpful to members to set out in this column an overview of items the Council hopes to accomplish this coming year.

First, I want to recognize Andy Demetriou for the excellent job he has done as the immediate past chair of the Section. Andy accomplished many things, which included updating the Section's long term strategic plan; reviewing, revising and streamlining the Section Committees and processes; and building stronger relationships with the larger ABA. (The mission and goals can be accessed on line.) Again, I want to thank Andy for his accomplishments and his effort to effectuate a smooth transition -- all of which will make my job easier.

One area where the Section has excelled is programming, particularly under the leadership of Bill Horton and his Program Committee. This year, the Section will continue to offer its annual live programs -- Washington Healthcare Summit, Emerging Issues In Healthcare Law and Physician-Legal Issues Conference. These programs are maturing and hitting their stride. In addition, teleconferences will still be used to address breaking issues and further programming identified by the Interest Groups (IGs). You will receive notice of teleconferences by e-mail.

IGs are substantive committees established by Council that allow members of the Section to focus on a particular area. Getting involved in the leadership of the IGs is one of the best ways to become more actively engaged with the Section as a whole. Many times, upcoming leaders for the Section are identified through the effective job someone has done as an IG Chair or Vice-Chair.

Council continues to review the IGs to make certain that all areas of health law of interest to members are represented appropriately. As the IGs become more established, Council is considering the creation of subcommittees in some areas in order for members to focus even more closely on specific interests. I would appreciate your feedback on this issue.

As Council's mission has matured, it is becoming more involved in trying to influence healthcare policy, although it must do this cautiously. The Section provides an effective forum to address policy issues in this highly regulated industry which affects our clients and us as healthcare lawyers. To better meet this challenge and to rise above accusations of industry bias, Council has organized the Healthcare Policy Task Force which is chaired by David Johnson. This task force is made up of individuals who have an expertise in various areas of health law --- a sort of "brain trust". The group has been charged with the duty of being a resource to the Council on certain policy issues as well as to address certain cutting edge areas of interest to the members.

One of the first accomplishments of this group was its effectiveness in addressing the issue of telemedicine and the credentialing of providers who provide telemedicine services over state lines. The task force researched the issue and drafted a Report and Recommendation that was passed by the ABA House of Delegates at the August Annual Meeting in New York City. Council plans to continue to bring cutting edge Reports and Recommendations before the Mid-Year and Annual Meetings of the ABA and is currently determining which issues to undertake next. One issue it will continue to tackle is to build on its expertise on the credentialing of providers by addressing the issue of credentialing during national disasters. In addition, the Council continues to appoint discrete task forces to address specific issues, such as access to healthcare. This is an issue that the Council has hoped to address for some time. Andy placed it back on the front burner in anticipation of this Presidential election year, and Council is presently organizing this task force. If you are interested in participating, please let me know.

Another indication that the Section is coming into its own is its increasing role with international partners such as the International Bar Association, the United Nations, and the World Health Organization. This role has grown from the work of former Section Chair Paul DeMuro, who organized an International Committee. One of the areas of collaboration is again the issue of telemedicine and provider credentialing from an international perspective.

The Section is always monitoring membership and striving to provide valuable services. We want to be responsive to you, thus Council is considering greater use of sponsorships in order to provide additional member services. However, we need to hear from you, the member, as your feedback is invaluable and greatly appreciated.

The Publications Committee will continue to be productive and coordinate with the Healthcare Policy Task Force and the Program Committee to publish a collection of white papers on topics of which the Section is establishing an expertise, such as credentialing of providers.

Coordination on this effort will be led by Dr. James Chen, Dean of the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. In addition, the Committee will soon publish its newest book on Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs). You will, of course, still receive the same great content on timely healthcare legal issues you have come to expect in The Health Lawyer.

Again, this is an election year and healthcare will likely continue to be a major issue during the election and upcoming presidential term. The Section will work to become a resource to the new administration as well as government regulatory agencies. Although it takes years to become a trusted resource to such agencies, the Section will continue to comment on regulations and provide thoughtful and reasoned expertise when asked. In addition, the Section looks forward to becoming even more involved as a resource to governmental agencies by working closely with the new ABA Government Affairs Director, Tom Susman.

The Section continues to build its community outreach program: the Breast Cancer Advocacy Initiative and will present programs across the country this year, including during the Council's spring meeting in Louisville.

Council will also continue to strive to build the Section's involvement within the "big ABA". E. Paul Herrington, the "father of our Section," and past Section Chair Tony Patterson continue to take larger roles within the ABA.

As you can see, the Section has a lot going on. It is growing and maturing, and I am looking forward to this coming year. Our Section has a great staff led by Jill Peña and I invite you to contact me, other members of Council or our staff, if you would like to become more involved or if you have suggestions about how our Section can bring more value to you as a member.

If all else fails, perhaps you will find value in the following Kentucky recipe. As your Health Law Section Chair, I want to share my passion with you by including in my column a Kentucky recipe. In addition to my legal profession, I am also a farmer with a passion for growing and cooking local produce. In the past, I wrote a cooking column called "Vickie's Victuals"- a legal term for food. Juries were usually polled by a judge after rendering a verdict and asked if any juror received anything of value from any of the lawyers, including any victuals (food). I hope you will give the following Kentucky recipe a shot.

Every September, Louisvillians celebrate the birthday of George Garvin Brown, who created Old Forester® Bourbon. Mr. Brown was an early pharmaceutical representative, who was the first person to bottle bourbon after recognizing the need for bourbon of consistent high quality. Around 1880, Old Forester® Bourbon was used by a bartender at the Pendennis Club in downtown Louisville to create a mixed drink called the "Old Fashioned". Soon thereafter, one of the members of the Club brought it to the Waldorf Astoria bar in New York where it became popular. There it was known as the first mixed drink to be called a "cocktail". It was the cocktail of choice for Harry and Bess Truman during their stay at the White House.

OLD FASHIONED

1 tsp. sugar

2-3 Angostura bitters

2 orange slices for muddling and garnish

3 oz. Old Forester® Bourbon

2 Maraschino cherries for muddling and garnish

Preparation:

  • Place the sugar at the bottom of an old fashioned glass.
  • Saturate the sugar with bitters
  • Add one orange slice and a maraschino cherry
  • Muddle these ingredients
  • Fill the glass with ice cubes
  • Add the bourbon
  • Stir well
  • Garnish with a second orange slice and a maraschino cherry which can also be muddled

Enjoy!


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