ABA Health eSource
August 2009 Volume 5 Number 12

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

Vickie Yates BrownAs I reflect on all the Section has accomplished this past year, I am writing my last column as your Chair and want to share some thoughts on the state of the Section. I have been honored to work with many dedicated and thoughtful Section leaders and members who participated in so many of the Section’s projects and initiatives. On the staff side, we said farewell to Adam Bielawski in November 2008 and welcomed Simeon Carson as the new Publishing, Technology and Membership Manager in January 2009. Simeon joins our dedicated staff, Administrative Assistant Abbey Palagi, Associate Director Sena Leach and Director Jill Peña.

In this economically challenging time, I am proud of the great strides we made in fulfilling our mission. Through our Interest Groups and deep discounts on programs and publications, the value that Section members receive compares favorably or exceeds any other organization. This past year is an excellent example of how the Section continues to grow as a resource for you to turn to for publications, CLE, and current developments and initiatives in the health law arena.

Publications and Electronic Communications

The Section is proud of its publication program, an area that we continue to grow.

  • Practical Guide Series : We added two new publications to this series, Patient Safety Handbook by June Sullivan and Renee Martin and A Practical Guide to Medicare Appeals by Daniel Cody and Kathleen Scully-Hayes. These two books join our first book, HIPAA: A Practical Guide to the Privacy & Security of Health Data, written by June Sullivan. The Publication Committee has been meeting to discuss other topics for the Practical Guide series. If you have expertise in a topic, we hope that you will consider contributing to this series. If you have a suggested topic area for us to consider, let us know that as well.
  • The Health Lawyer : For over twenty years, the Section’s flagship publication has provided informative and in depth articles that focus on a wide range of areas in the health law field. Published bimonthly, the Health Lawyer offers incisive analysis of timely and significant issues.
  • ABA Health eSource : Each month, the Section’s monthly e-newsletter, has helped keep members informed by publishing original health law articles, delivering the latest information about health law related CLE programs, and providing the most recent health law news and resources. Past issues of eSource are available at www.abanet.org/health/.
  • Books : Our collaboration with BNA has been very successful. We added Pharmaceutical Law and a new edition of our very well regarded Health Care Fraud and Abuse. Members get a substantial discount on all books published in this series.
  • Health Law 101 Series : Section members also contributed to the ABA Young Lawyers Division web-based practice series.

The Section seeks to be an effective leader in the profession and in the ABA. Among the areas we currently are working are:

  • Government Submissions : The Section submitted joint comments with the Taxation Section on April 30, 2009 to the IRS on Health Care Reform. At last year’s ABA Annual Meeting the Section sponsored Reports and Recommendations on Expedited Partner Therapy and Mutual State Telemedicine Licensure Requirements. The Section submitted Reports and Recommendations to the ABA House of Delegates on Conflicts of Interest for the Pharmaceutical Industry and on Access to Healthcare. These items were adopted as policy of the ABA at the Annual Meeting. All of these documents can be found on the Government Submissions webpage. Section leaders met with Congressional staff in November to offer assistance and expertise.
  • Task Forces on Access to Healthcare and Healthcare Policy: In this exciting time in health law, the Section has two task forces that work on providing leadership with respect to legislative initiatives. The Task Force on Access to Healthcare is tasked with tracking the current health care reform activities on the Hill. The Healthcare Policy Task Force is responsible for commenting on cutting edge healthcare policy issues. This Task Force developed the reports and recommendations on Telemedicine Licensure and Conflicts of Interest.
  • Breast Cancer Advocacy Initiative: The Health Law Section continues to build its Breast Cancer Advocacy Pro Bono Project. The initiative was developed to provide legal advocacy training to lawyers, provide resources for lawyers and consumers dealing with breast cancer, and educating women, attorneys and policymakers on the range of legal issues impacting women’s health. During the 2008-09 association year legal advocacy training workshops were held in Orlando, Florida, Louisville, Kentucky and Washington DC. The Breast Cancer Task Force has recently released the Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Toolkit. The Toolkit is designed to provide sponsoring organizations with detailed guidance on how to organize and conduct a Workshop in their community.
  • Medical-Legal Partnership: This initiative works with lawyers, often situated in a healthcare setting, to help patients navigate the complex legal system that often holds solutions to many social determinants of health. The project received an ABA Enterprise Grant last June which allows the project to continue its work in promoting the partnership model. Currently, the project is developing a national support center that will encourage and aid the implementation of these partnerships.
  • Interest Groups : The Section’s twelve Interest Groups (IGs) have been extremely active in the past year. All of the Interest Groups have presented teleconferences; contributed to the ABA Health eSource; and worked on the Emerging Issues Conference. Among the many IG highlights are the formation of the HITECH Task Force by the eHealth, Privacy & Security IG; the Physician Issues IG held a member benefit call on the FTC Red Flags Rule; and the Tax & Accounting IG leadership held its annual meeting with IRS Exempt Organizations officials in May.
  • Membership Initiatives: The Membership Committee is developing good relationships with various specialty bars to ensure that diverse viewpoints are represented in the healthcare debates. The Committee also oversees the various community outreach programs and law student activities.

One of our primary purposes is to provide resources and training that enhance your practice. We achieve this goal through focused, targeted teleconferences and in-depth live conferences.

  • Emerging Issues Conference : The tenth annual Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law Conference was held at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort in Orlando, Florida in February. The Section hosted over 300 members, speakers and Section leaders as they learned about the latest issues facing the healthcare field. There was plenty of time to interact with colleagues and enjoy the social events. Our next EMI conference will be held at the Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. The planning committee is working hard on the program that will include Interest Group meetings as well as the latest in health law. Mark your calendars for February 17-19, 2010.
  • Washington Healthcare Summit : Our sixth annual Washington Healthcare Summit was an unqualified success. This program featured top government speakers and private practitioners. Among the many highlights were addresses by Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch and U.S. News and World Report’s Michael Barone. The 2009 program will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia, October 26-27. Further information is on our website at abanet.org/health.
  • Physician Issues : The Section hosted its Annual Physician Issues Conference on June 11. This one-day program featured topics on physician employment and other alternatives; hospital/vendor relationships; public advocacy initiatives emanating from the American Medical Association; and issues affecting medical staffs. Lewis Morris, Chief Counsel to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health addressed the group during the conference luncheon.
  • Teleconferences : Section teleconferences continue to be one of the most efficient ways of providing CLE to our members and others interested in health law. This year over 2,000 participants dialed in to hear presentations on a broad spectrum of health law issues including “The Final 2009 Physician Fee Schedule: Are Revised Anti-Markup, IDTF and Stark Gainsharing Rules in Store?” and “Current Developments in Health Information Technology.” The latest teleconference calendar can be found on our website.

Space prevents me from detailing the numerous projects and initiatives by the Section Interest Groups and several task forces which have worked so diligently this year. The best way to keep abreast is to join! You can enroll on our web page or telephone our offices. If you have questions or want more information contact Section Director Jill Peña at 312/988-5548 or at jillpena@staff.abanet.org.

As a volunteer driven organization we need and welcome your involvement. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your Chair, but perhaps the greatest reward of this service has been the opportunity to get to meet so many wonderful people who give of their time and talents to our great profession of health law. We value your membership and your input, and I join you in looking forward to the next year under the very able leadership of David Hilgers as Chair.

This is also my last opportunity to share a local Kentucky recipe with you. For this column and during this year of celebration of the bicentennial of his birth, I have chosen to include a recipe in honor of one of Kentucky’s favorite sons, Abraham Lincoln. Abe was born in Kentucky but he and his family continued to move West when Abe was 7 years old. However, Kentucky and its residents, such as Mary Todd Lincoln and the Speed family, continued to play important roles throughout Lincoln’s life. In fact, we learned earlier this year that Abe influenced President Obama’s inaugural celebration because of the respect and admiration the 44th President has for Kentucky’s favorite son and 16th President. For instance, Obama was sworn in as president by placing his hand on the same Bible used at Lincoln’s inaugural ceremony in 1861. The celebration continued by also serving Lincoln’s favorite foods on replicas of the Lincoln White House china.

According to one of the leading experts on Mary Todd Lincoln, Donna D. McCreary , the author of Lincoln’s Table – A President’s Culinary Journey from Cabin to Cosmopolitan, one of Lincoln’s favorite dishes was a cake invented by a local caterer, Monsieur Giron of Lexington, Kentucky, Mary’s hometown. The cake was created for the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette to Lexington in 1825. The cake was a success and supposedly Mary and her family begged the caterer for the recipe which became a family staple. Mary made the cake for Abe when they were courting and she continued to make it for family functions, election night entertaining and eventually for functions at the White House.

Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Almond Cake
Adapted from “Lincoln's Table” by Donna D. McCreary


1 cup blanched almonds
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
6 eggs, separated (best when eggs are cold)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar


Using a food processor or a spice grinder, pulverize almonds until they resemble coarse flour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan.

With an electric beater or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light yellow in color and fluffy.

Sift flour and baking powder three times. Fold flour mix into creamed butter and sugar, alternating with milk, until well blended. Stir in almonds and beat well.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they have stiff, firm peaks. (Use egg yolks for another use – French toast, possibly?) Beaters must be washed and dried thoroughly before whipping egg whites or they will not stiffen properly. Fold egg whites gently into batter with a rubber spatula. Add vanilla extract.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for one hour, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool for at least 20 minutes before inverting, then allow to completely cool before serving. Sift confectioners’ sugar on top.

Makes about 12 slices.

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