Health eConnect - Your link to the ABA's Health Law Section
 Oct 2004 Volume 1 Number 2

Book Review
by Charity Scott, Professor of Law & Director, Center for Law, Health & Society Georgia State University College of Law

Bioethics Mediation: A Guide to Shaping Shared Solutions , Nancy N. Dubler & Carol B. Liebman

When life and death hang in the balance, how should health care treatment decisions be made? When time is short, when a patient's family is in emotional turmoil and the doctors and nurses are stressed, what happens if they all cannot agree on a treatment plan for a seriously ill patient? This new book provides health caregivers and administrators, hospital ethics committees and consultants, and their legal counsel with a fresh and practical look at resolving bioethics conflicts in health care settings.


Section Meetings and CLE Events: Hot topics to help you keep current and connected

Thursday, October 14, 2004
HIPAA AdSi Privacy Rule Disclosures: Document & Information Production In Litigation and Beyond

The HIPAA Administrative Simplification subtitle privacy rule challenges lawyers to reexamine traditional notions of access to information in litigation. Among the multitude of privacy rule provisions, except for two specific areas, HIPAA covered entities are given permission, but are not required, to disclose protected health information. Sometimes authorizations are required, and sometimes not. Sometimes consents are requested but not required. Which provisions supercedes state law or whether state law preempts the privacy rule, or whether another federal law supercedes them both, are only some of the questions that must be considered every time access is requested or demanded by attorneys, governmental investigators, regulators, or judges. Rules of professional responsibility can also affect how and when an attorney can or should release information. In addition, many clients have professional licensure and other constraints that must be respected, but might not be compatible with the privacy rule. All the while, requests for release of information are being received, subpoenas are delivered, and motions are made, with ensuing debates and confusion. It is time to get a clearer focus.

December 6 - 7, 2004
Washington Healthcare Summit

This program focuses on gaining insights from government and senior legislative staffers from the House and Senate on federal initiatives and CMS priorities and programs. Hear from lawyers from agencies such as the DOJ, FTC, FDA, SEC and CMS on current initiatives and how best to work within their structure to address important legal issues; participate in programs with agency officials providing the latest updates on a wide range of issues. Network with healthcare attorneys in state and federal government, private practice and in-house.


The Washington DC Bar has published a consumer guide, Patient Rights Manual available on its website.

October 6, 2004

Section Happenings
by J.A. (Tony) Patterson, Jr., Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P., Dallas, TX

The 2004-2005 ABA Bar year is well under way. It is my privilege to serve as the Chair of the Health Law Section this year. There are already many exciting activities already begun in our Section and I would like to share a few of these with you.

We initiated efforts last year to improve our Website. Our plans are to make it the "go-to" resource for a broad range of information and materials in support of practice. If you have thoughts and suggestions, please pass them on to me, Greg Pemberton (our Chair-Elect), or our Section Executive Director, Jill Pena. Our contact information can be found on the Website.



California Enacts Nonprofit Governance Reform
by Andrew J. Demetriou, Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P., Los Angeles, CA

On September 29, 2004, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1262 (Sher), enacting new corporate governance requirements for California nonprofit corporations that are required to register with the California Attorney General. This represents an important state effort to extend governance and financial accountability standards, similar to those imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley on SEC reporting companies, to charitable organizations.


Advisory Opinion No. 04-10
by Marc Goldstone, Hoagland Longo Moran Dunst, New Brunswick, NJ

In a recent opinion, the Federal government addressed how a county may structure its emergency services. So now there's better guidance the next time you're counseling a government client, right? Well, no, not exactly.


 In Focus

Interview with Susan Loitz, Assistant U.S. Attorney
by Alan S. Goldberg, Goulston & Storrs, Washington, DC

In the first publicly known criminal prosecution under HIPAA's privacy rule, United States of American v. Richard W. Gibson, Assistant US Attorney Susan Loitz prosecuted an individual who appears not to be a covered entity under HIPAA. Susan Loitz is an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington. Susan was born in Akron, Ohio and received her B.A. from Chatham College, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota. Susan has been with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Washington, in Seattle, since 1997, and is part of the Complex Crimes Unit as the criminal health care fraud coordinator. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney's Office, Susan was a partner with the law firm of Riddell Williams in Seattle, after clerking for United States District Judge Diana E. Murphy in the District of Minnesota, and practicing at a firm in Minneapolis.


An Interview with H. William Allen, member of the ABA Board of Governors
by Alan S. Goldberg, Goulston & Storrs, Washington, DC

Alan Goldberg spoke to ABA Board of Governor Member and Section Liaison Bill Allen.


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

Interest Group Spotlight

The newly created Public Health & Policy Interest Group is off to a great start. It has assumed the lead position in the ABA partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in facilitating the organization of community workshops across the country that are designed to prepare private lawyers for the legal issues that will arise during a public health emergency. Communities across the country are being identified for workshops this year. An IG teleconference will be held in November that will provide additional information on the workshops and identify lawyers who would like to assist in their organization.

The IG is also working with ABA Section of State and Local Government Law to finalize a checklist for attorneys to use in the event of a possible disaster.

In addition, the IG has organized two sessions to be held at the ABA Emerging Issues Conference in February: a plenary session entitled, “Current Trends in Programs that Provide Coverage for the Uninsured: Federal, State and Local Initiatives and Perspectives;” and a breakout session entitled. "Legal Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies and Natural Disasters: Being Prepared When Your Client Calls."

During the Washington Healthcare Summit in December, and at the Emerging Issues Conference in February, the IG will be meeting to discuss the plans for the year and solicit suggestions and volunteers for carrying out those initiatives that will best serve the IG members. If you plan on attending either conference, please stop by.

The IG is poised to play an important role in improving public health and shaping public policy. If you would like to join the Interest Group, please email Jill Pena at

The opinions expressed are those of the authors and shall not be construed to represent the policies or positions of the ABA or the ABA Health Law Section.

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