ABA Health eSource
December 2010 Volume 7 Number 4

Chair's Column
By Linda A. Baumann, Arent Fox LLP, Washington, DC

 Just when you thought you understood PPACA….

For those of us who thought that learning and dealing with the various health law reform programs and provisions set forth in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) was going to be challenging, legal practice just became even more daunting in light of the midyear elections. In addition to ongoing regulatory implementation of PPACA’s mandates, we now have to stay abreast of potential changes on the Hill that may stall or even repeal aspects of the health law reform legislation. These issues will be explored in depth at the Washington Healthcare Summit being held in Arlington, VA on Dec. 6-7, 2010. The Summit is a unique opportunity to hear from and meet with many of the government officials and other leaders actually involved in implementing health law reform. Kirk Nahra, David Douglass, the Summit Planning Committee and Health Law Section (“HLS” or “Section”) staff have organized a wide ranging program with outstanding speakers and it’s not too late to register. Click here to sign up!

Liability for Health Lawyers?

Many lawyers also are troubled about the implications of the recent indictment of a former associate general counsel at GlaxoSmithKline who was charged with making false statements, concealing and falsifying documents and obstruction in the context of her work with the company on pharmaceutical marketing, United States of America v. Lauren Stevens. In light of the tremendous volume of health law regulations and number of enforcement agencies, combined with the scarcity of case law, health lawyers are understandably increasingly concerned about their ability to advise their clients when issues arise in the “gray areas” of the law, and will be watching the Stevens case closely.

New Opportunities for HLS Members

Meanwhile, the government continues to churn out numerous lengthy sets of regulations on a wide range of health law-related topics. This summer’s survey results demonstrated that HLS members find the educational events, teleconferences, publications and other opportunities that the Section provides to be invaluable in helping you stay informed and advise your clients on these issues. We are continually expanding our capabilities to meet these needs.

The Long Term Care Task Force

Towards this end, the Section has established several new Task Forces this year to focus on particular topics. The Long Term Care Task Force, co-chaired by Gregory Pemberton and Michael Anderson, with Vice Chairs Sharon Caulfield, John Durso, Marie Infante and Michael Stein, is designed to focus on issues surrounding a variety of long term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health, hospice and others.

As a new entity, there are many opportunities for participation and leadership within the Task Force. The Task Force leaders are hosting a breakfast at the Summit and a luncheon program at EMI. You also can sign up to participate in the Long Term Care Task Force by contacting Simeon Carson, Associate Director, at Simeon.Carson@americanbar.org.

The ACO Task Force

The new Accountable Care Organization Task Force is chaired by Matthew Jenkins, with Vice Chairs Bernadette Broccolo and Robert Leibenluft. As many of you know, PPACA contains provisions regarding the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (“ACO”s), although many key aspects of ACO organization and operation remain to be resolved. The ACO Task Force is designed to provide a resource on the developing legal and regulatory framework for ACOs, both as contracted participants in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and as participants in innovative payment structures with commercial and other non-governmental payors. In addition, the ACO Task Force will be in the forefront of Section efforts to work with government officials as they move towards ACO implementation. One of the first projects that ACO Task Force members will undertake is to help draft a White Paper on these issues. You can meet the team at a Summit breakfast on Dec. 7 or you can join the ACO Task Force by contacting Simeon Carson, Associate Director, at Simeon.Carson@americanbar.org.

Native American Health Task Force

This task force, chaired by Rakel Meir, with co-chairs Myles Lynk, Robert Nelson and Tony Patterson currently is working with the Public Health and Policy Interest Group to develop a program on Native American health issues for EMI. If you are interested in joing the Native American Health Task Force, please contact Simeon Carson, Associate Director, at Simeon.Carson@americanbar.org.

EMI is Coming!

The next opportunity to meet your colleagues and learn more about current health law topics will be at our Emerging Issues Conference to be held in New Orleans on February 23-25, 2011. Click here to see the agenda. The EMI Planning Committee, chaired by Hilary Young and Joyce Hall, has outdone itself on the substantive programming! New this year, we are planning various social/networking events for the Saturday after EMI to help you further enjoy your time in New Orleans. In addition to the Margarita Cup golf scramble, opportunities to attend a Mardi Gras parade or a Cajun cooking school demonstration are in the works. Stay tuned for details. Finally, there’s always a wonderful reception on Saturday night and you’re all invited. Hope to see you there!

Welcome Suzanne Rivers

Please join me in welcoming Suzanne Rivers to the Health Law Section staff as the new Senior Meeting Planner. Suzanne will oversee all live programs, distance-learning programs, and the meeting planning aspects of Council and committee meetings.

Suzanne is excited to be with the ABA and we’re happy she has joined the Health Law team. She can be reached at (312) 988-5146 or Suzanne.Rivers@americanbar.org.

Suzanne will also be at the Washington Healthcare Summit—be sure to stop by and say hello if you will be there!

The ABA Health eSource is distributed automatically to members of the ABA Health Law Section . Please feel free to forward it! Non-members may also sign up to receive the ABA Health eSource.