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ABA Health eSource
 November 2007 Volume 4 Number 3

Chair's Column
by Andrew J. Demetriou, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Los Angeles, CA

Andrew J. DemetriouThis month, I want to take the opportunity to acquaint you with the governance structure of the Health Law Section so that you can better understand the roles of those of us who are privileged to lead the Section's activities. We are blessed with a wonderful group of dedicated volunteers and perhaps you may be inspired to seek leadership positions in the Section in the future.

At the center of our structure is the Section Council, consisting of the eight Section Officers (Chair, Chair-Elect, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Budget Officer, two representatives to the House of Delegates and the Immediate Past Chair), six at-large members who serve three year terms and three ex-officio members—our Board of Governors Liaison and representatives from the Young Lawyers Division and the Law Student Division of the ABA. The Council is responsible for oversight of the Section budget and programs and is regarded as the accountable body to the ABA Board of Governors for the Section's activities.

Each year at the ABA Annual Meeting, two new at-large members are elected to the Council based on the report of the Section's Nominating Committee. The ex-officio members of the Council are subject to appointment by the entities they represent on an annual basis. Those Section Officers who are subject to election, the Section Vice-Chair, Secretary and Budget Officer are also chosen at the Annual Meeting, based on the Nominating Committee report. Our two representatives to the House of Delegates serve three year terms and vacancies in these offices are filled at the appropriate Annual Meeting, together with other offices. In addition, the incumbent Vice-Chair automatically becomes the Chair-Elect, the Chair-Elect becomes the Chair and the Chair becomes the Immediate Past Chair at each Annual Meeting.

The Nominating Committee is appointed by the Section Chair, and includes the Section Immediate Past Chair, Chair-Elect and Vice Chair, in addition to at large members. In making its recommendations for Council and Officer selections, the Nominating Committee takes into account factors including service and dedication to the Section, leadership and diversity. The Committee casts a wide net in consideration of potential candidates for Officer and Council positions and its deliberations are very candid and thoughtful. In recent years we have been blessed with a large pool of potential candidates and this provides us with potential leadership for years into the future.

Your Section Officers serve as the Section's Executive Committee and as the Section representatives in the Section Officers Conference, which seeks to encourage collaboration among the ABA Sections and work on issues of common interest. Our two representatives to the House of Delegates participate actively on the floor of the House and are responsible for ensuring that the Section's views on pending resolutions before the House are known and considered.

The Section Council meets monthly. Four times during the year, we meet in person—including at the Emerging Issues Conference and at the ABA Annual Meeting—the balance of our meetings are by conference call. Interested members are welcome at public sessions of the Council and I encourage those of you who may want to gain appreciation of the Council's work to join us during one of those sessions. In addition to the Officers and Council members, we regularly include the Interest Group Leader, Programs Executive Committee Co-Chairs and Publications Committee Chair, to provide reports on their activities.

Leadership positions other than the Officers and Council Members are filled through appointment by the Section Chair-Elect during the spring of each year. These positions include the Section's working Committees—Publications, Programs, Government Submissions, Government Relations, Membership, Diversity, Finance, Sponsorship and Pro Bono. In addition, the Chair-Elect appoints the Interest Group leadership, including Chairs (every other year) and Vice-Chairs (as needed) and a variety of liaisons to other ABA entities, including the Section Officers Conference Committees, ABA Commissions and Standing Committees.

Appointment to a position as an Interest Group Vice-Chair or a member of a working Committee is a great way to gain further exposure to the good work we are doing as a Section. If you have an interest in becoming more actively involved please contact any of the Officers or Council Members, the Interest Group Leaders or our Staff Director, Jill Peña. We would most pleased to find a place where your energies will benefit our membership. Please consider taking a more active role in the Section by volunteering for an appointment.

A major development in the past month is the release by CMS of a list of hospitals to be surveyed for financial relationships with physicians. This is a second round of surveys and may presage enforcement activities or changes in regulations aimed a addressing certain financial arrangements among these providers. This month's issue includes an article by Summer Martin addressing mandatory reporting issues for hospitals in the area of financial relationships. There is also a spotlight on our Healthcare Facilities and Operations Interest Group, which oversees a broad range of developments concerning licensure, accreditation and operational concerns for facilities. We hope that you find these materials useful in your work.