ABA Health eSource - Your link to the ABA's Health Law Section
October 2009 Volume 6 Number 2
Health Law Section News  October 7, 2009

October 8, 2009
Master Class in Crisis Communications for Healthcare Attorneys

The ABA Health Law Section proudly announces the
Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Workshop Toolkit

Interest Group Communication Highlights

Resources & News


New BNA Products
CDC Public Health Law News

CDC Newsletter is a free electronic newsletter published monthly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Law Program


Chair's Column
By David W. Hilgers, Brown McCarroll, L.L.P., Austin, TX

As Chair, I am excited to tout one of the most outstanding benefits available from the Health Law Section. In this column I want to extol the wonders of Washington, D.C. in the fall, particularly on October 26th and 27th. Those are the dates of one of the premier annual health law conferences — the Washington Healthcare Summit. Once again we will be meeting at the Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City across the Potomac from D.C.

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Evidence-Based Medicine Comes to Washington
By Edward G. Connette, Essex Richards, PA, Charlotte, NC

With a recession sweeping the country, Congress and the Administration went looking for shovel-ready public works projects to fund with the $787 Billion American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (“ARRA”). Predictably, the money will support state and local government infrastructure projects like roads, bridges and public transit. Buried in the deck is a wildcard: a $1.1 billion allocation for comparative effectiveness research ("CER") to study what medical treatment modalities work best for which patients, and under what circumstances. The CER appropriation suggests that Washington has discovered evidence-based medicine. But the objectives of this appropriation differ in some respects from the outcomes that most clinicians seek as they strive to develop and apply best practices.

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COBRA Strikes Again: ARRA Issues At Open Enrollment and Year-End

By Andy R. Anderson, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP,
Chicago, IL

The COBRA ARRA provisions have created plenty of headaches this year for employers and COBRA administrators--but, just when the provisions began to achieve a degree of familiarity, a new set of issues looms that will refocus attention on the provisions. These issues are related to the operation of the COBRA ARRA provisions in the context of open enrollment elections for 2010 and also the currently scheduled December 31, 2009 sunset of the provisions.


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“ARRA”) contains a series of new provisions temporarily modifying the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”) group healthcare plan continuation rules. These provisions represent the most wide-ranging changes to COBRA since its inception and have required significant administrative efforts for employers and COBRA administrators.

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Clinical Trial Compliance: New Focus on IRBs
By Saul B Helman MD, Carol Landsman MHS, Mary Ann Northrup RN, MSN, Navigant Consulting, Inc., Chicago, IL

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) also known as an independent ethics committee (IEC) or ethical review board (ERB) is a committee that has been formally designated to approve, monitor, and review biomedical and behavioral research involving humans with the aim to protect the rights and welfare of research subjects. These committees are charged with ensuring that research studies involving human subjects comply with certain federal regulations as well as providing a general oversight of patient safety in clinical trials. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Health and Human Services have empowered IRBs to approve, require research modifications or disapprove planned research. An IRB performs the critical oversight functions for research conducted on human subjects that are ethical, scientific and regulated.

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Join the ABA Health Law Section for the Washington Healthcare Summit!

After a summer of contentious town halls, talk of government death panels and spontaneous outbursts by members of Congress during presidential speeches, the advent of fall brings an acceleration of the pace of healthcare reform. The American Bar Association Health Law Section presents the timely 2009 Washington Healthcare Summit on October 26-27.

Leading off the program is a Congressional roundtable featuring Mark D. Hayes, the Health Policy Director and Chief Health Council-Minority Staff from the Senate Finance Committee. This session will be followed by the keynote address by CNN's Paul Begala.

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Are you a member of an interest group?

Did you know your membership in the ABA Health Law Section qualifies you for free membership in up to three interest groups of your choice? Interest groups, which are comprised of twelve practices areas within health law, make significant contributions to the Section's programming, publications and legislative initiatives. The interest groups also provide an excellent opportunity for you to interact with and have access to some of the most outstanding lawyers in the legal community. You can enroll on our webpage by clicking here. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Simeon Carson at Simeon.Carson@americanbar.org.

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
Interest Group

The Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Interest Group focuses on significant compliance issues relating to health and other welfare benefit plans with particular emphasis on HIPAA, COBRA, Medicare Secondary Payor rules, and ERISA Title I rules, as well as executive compensation issues.

The IG is led by Chair Gregory L. Needles, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, Washington, DC and Vice-Chairs Eugene M. Holmes, McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Washington, DC; Janet Pulliam, Williams & Anderson PLC, Little Rock, AR and Christopher S. Sears, Ice Miller LLP, Indianapolis, IN

If you would like to join the Interest Group, continue by clicking the following link: Health Law Section IG Sign-up Form.

ABA eSource Editorial Board

The ABA Health eSource Editorial Board is led by Chair Lisa Genecov, Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell LLP, Dallas, TX and editorial board members Michael E. Clark, Hamel Bowers & Clark LLP, Houston, TX; Adrienne Dresevic, The Health Law Partners, PC, Southfield, MI; Marla Durben Hirsch, Potomac, MD and Conrad Meyer, Chaffe McCall, LLP, New Orleans, LA.

Do you want to communicate your ideas to thousands of other members? To contribute a newsletter article on a health law topic, send us your ideas to Simeon.Carson@americanbar.org
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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