Health eConnect - Your link to the ABA's Health Law Section
 June 2004 Volume 1 Number 1
News A Message from the Chair

Reimport Report
In recent months, the Food and Drug Administration has taken action against a number of companies that are allegedly reimporting prescription drugs on behalf of cities, including Springfield, Mass. and Montgomery, Ala. Federal law allows only the original manufacturer to reimport prescription drugs into the U.S., but several states and cities have been lobbying for a change. So far, the FDA is only pursuing enforcement against the companies, but it’s leaving open the possibility of going after the municipalities themselves. "Our program is going to stay exactly the way it is," a defiant Springfield city official is quoted as saying. "We have no plans to change anything."
Source: Gonzalez, G., Business Insurance, "Cities vow to maintain Canadian Rx reimports; Undaunted by FDA threats against reimportation companies," Feb. 2, 2004

Timeline Set for New ID
The timeline is now in place for healthcare providers to establish National Provider Identifiers. All HIPAA-covered entities that are not small health plans must use NPIs by May 23, 2007; for small health plans the compliance date is May 23, 2008. The timeline was published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2004. For more, click here.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Healthcare IT Targeted for More Funding
The Bush administration is proposing to double the funds available for new healthcare IT projects, even as it seeks to cap the increase in government technology expenditures to 1%. About half of the budgeted $105 million would be earmarked for a Department of Health and Human Services program giving grants to small community and rural hospitals to use computerized systems for improving care. That includes automated drug-ordering systems and electronic health records. With small hospitals teaming up to apply for grants, the funds could help "possibly thousands or millions of patients," an agency official is quoted as saying.
Source: McGee, M.K., InformationWeek, "Budget Includes Medical Grants for Small Hospitals," February 9, 2004
HIPAA Ready, or Not?
In a nationwide survey of more than 500 physician and physician practices, 36.2 percent thought that having a staff member complete privacy training or certification programs was enough for HIPAA compliance, and 27 percent didn’t have their fax machines in a secure, locked area. An optimistic 21.4 percent believed they couldn’t be personally sued for noncompliance.
Source: Seacrest DocSecurity survey conducted in July and August 2003
Section Meetings and CLE Events: Hot topics to help you keep current and connected
Sun, Surf and Seminars: More than 300 people attended the 5th Annual Conference on Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law in La Jolla, Calif. last February. The agenda included trends in using the False Claims Act against the healthcare industry and a lively discussion of the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug legislation.

June 21, 2004

Dear Health Law Section Members:

I have the great privilege of serving as Chair of the Health Law Section this year. In that capacity, it is a pleasure to inaugurate this first edition of our American Bar Association Health Law Section email newsletter, under the very able leadership of Alan Goldberg (a member of the Section's Council and the our Substantive Webmaster). Assisting Alan with our email newsletter are our Substantive Webmaster Committee, comprised of Thomas Weede, Marc Goldstone, John A. Knapp, Linda Abdel Malek, Rene Y. Quashie and Rachel Wilson, our ABA staff and our consultant, Clockwork Design Group. One of our initiatives this year is to serve you better by more effectively using our electronic capabilities. Expect significant changes in our website and email communications under Alan's direction. This is one of the ways that the Section will fulfill its mission of enhancing the practice of health lawyers and improving the understanding and development of health laws.

Our Section has many strengths, the greatest being our people - - our almost 10,000 members, our many active leaders, and our staff. Despite the gravity of the issues with which we deal as health lawyers, the Section seeks to be a warm and welcoming home for its members and to balance work with fun. As with the larger American Bar Association, our Section is overwhelmingly volunteer driven and it is the volunteer service of our many talented members and leaders that is responsible for our successes.

The best way to become actively involved in the Section is through one of our eleven Interest Groups: eHealth, Privacy & Security; Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation; Healthcare Facility Operations; Healthcare Fraud & Compliance; Litigation, Provider Liability & Dispute Resolution; Medical Research, Biotechnology & Clinical Ethical Issues; Payment & Reimbursement; Public Health; Tax & Accounting; and Transactional & Business Healthcare. The principal source of our programs, publications, comments on regulations and policy proposals for the American Bar Association is through member participation in the Interest Groups. The Interest Groups also provide opportunities for our members to get involved and share information. I have had the opportunity to meet with our Interest Group leadership and I can assure you that it is an impressive group of talented and energetic people. Members of the Section can join up to three Interest Groups without charge. To join, please emai thel Health Law Section


 In Focus

HIPAA Update: Small health plans should think big… by Shannon Hartsfield, Esq.
The deadline for small health plans to comply with the privacy rules implementing portions of HIPAA has passed, and that could mean trouble for employers who don’t know their obligations. Find out exactly how small is small, and what these plans should be doing to get ready …

The New Medicare … by Robert H. Bradner, Esq.
President Bush signed the new Medicare Prescription Drug law into effect on Dec. 8. Get all the details of what the new law means in this in-depth analysis...


How Doctors Used RICO to Fight Managed Care … by Archie C. Lamb Jr., Esq.
Unable to get results through negotiation and legislation, physicians dissatisfied with managed care organizations turned to a powerful federal law. The ramifications have changed the managed care landscape. Find out the plaintiff's strategy for success...


Do you want to communicate your ideas to thousands of other members through the wonders of cyberspace? To contribute a newsletter article on a health law topic, e-mail us your idea at

Notable Quotables

" There are really two goals here with the [HIPAA] privacy rule. One is to protect the privacy of health information. The other is to make sure that access to quality healthcare is not unduly impeded. As the rule settles in, I think we’ll be able to see, I think we are seeing, in many cases, that the balance was correctly struck."
– Richard Campanelli, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, which oversees the HIPAA privacy rule
Source: Finkelstein, J.B., American Medical News, "Some confidentiality rules are obvious. All try to balance privacy with access," Jan. 5, 2004

"Maybe not within the next two to four years, but at some point in time there will be a compelling reason for clinicians to adopt electronic records and IT in general, and that will start a cascading of events leading to evidence-based medicine."
– David Trace, M.D., strategic director at The Kennedy Group, a Chicago-based healthcare IT consulting firm
Source: Health Data Management, "Growth in the Offing, But How Far Off?, January 2004

Don’t miss these upcoming events and CLE opportunities …

July 22, 2004
Managed Care Issues Between Providers and Payors — Teleconference

For more information on these offerings, visit

Interest Group Spotlight

Tax & Accounting Interest Group
Although not among our largest Interest Groups, the Tax & Accounting Interest Group is definitely one of our busiest. The Interest group has several major initiatives. On May 8th, Chair Bernadette Broccolo, Chicago, IL, Dave Flynn, Philadelphia, PA, Bonnie Brier, Chair of the ABA Health Law Section, Ralph DeJong and Fred Gerhart met with representatives of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, DC.
Among the topics discussed were:

  • Intermediate Sanctions
  • Incentive Compensation
  • Ancillary Joint Ventures
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Corporate Governance
  • Form 990 Project
  • HMO Guidance Project

The IG also has kept their membership update via emails on the ongoing saga of the St. David's Tax Ruling and hosted a teleconference on May 20th that concerned the recent IRS revenue ruling (Rev. Rul. 2004-51) concerning ancillary joint venture transactions. The teleconference attracted over 200 participants. If you are interested in the work of this Interest Group or any of the other ten, send an email the Health Law Section.

For Your Reading Pleasure …
Keep your eyes peeled for the new BNA "Managed Care" book, edited by Julie Barnes. In 2004, the ABA Health Law Section, in conjunction with the Bureau of National Affairs, will publish the Managed Care Litigation book. Designed to be used as an everyday resource for the seasoned litigator, the newly-hired health care department associate and in-house health plan counsel, this book will provide an overview of the most commonly litigated managed care topics and serve as a guide for researching this complex area of law.

"Managed Care" will join two other recent Section publications: " Health Care Fraud and Abuse: Practical Perspectives, 2003 Supplement" and " E-Health Business and Transactional Law."

If you are having trouble viewing this email, please visit: