From the Editor
Mens sana in corpore sano*

By Joan M. Burda

* A sound mind in a sound body.

Not long ago I saw a client at the weekly intake session I conduct through the Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program. A single parent, she arrived with her two children and her mother. The client wanted to give her mother authorization to pick up the children from school and take them to medical appointments. Mom worked a minimum wage job and had no health insurance. After a time, her mother took the children and left the office.

Looking down at the desk, her hands clenched together, the client asked if I could write her will. Without looking up she said, “three years ago I found out that I am HIV-positive, and now I need to start taking medicine to help me.” Then she started crying. She did not know how she would pay for the medications. She was looking at long-term treatment, and the cocktail of medicine she’d be taking was expensive. I put her in touch with Doug, working with the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, and he helped her get her meds and a caseworker to guide her through the process.

A single mom with two kids and a full-time job making minimum wage. Her youngest is three years old. His father died; the other child’s father is remarried, living in Texas and not involved with his daughter. This woman is the face of the health care crisis in the United States today.

Health issues affect each of us differently. Most of us are fortunate to be healthy and have access to health insurance. We live in a country with the finest health system in the world. Yet, millions of Americans are uninsured, uninsurable, or both. Solo and small firm lawyers not only face the legal issues but also face the need to provide health insurance for their own families and employees.

This issue of GPSolo deals with health. We have articles about medical evidence by Brian McCaffrey, medical specialties by Bryan C. Ramos, and health care fraud by Robin Page West. David J. Abeshouse and Todd C. Scott write about stress, and former Division Chair Larry Ramirez writes about estate planning for the disabled. Practice management issues related to health and insurance are discussed by Timothy J. Gephart and Michael Korn.

Timothy J. Rushenberg, a former captain in the U.S. Air Force, once again provides us with insight into the military arena, this time concerning HIPAA. With the large number of military reservists and National Guard troops called to active duty, his comments on the subject will help all lawyers address the needs of military members and their families.

On the civilian side, Melanie Bragg gives us a primer on HIPAA and its effect on our practices. She presents seminars on the topic for medical and legal organizations. Her website,, includes materials on HIPAA that you may find helpful in finding additional information.

Martha Church, a member of the GPSolo Editorial Board, makes her debut as an editor with this issue. She performed in yeoman fashion, and her considerable skills are evident in the final product.

This is my first column as Editor-in-Chief of GPSolo. I have the formidable task of following jennifer rose, who brought the magazine to the level of excellence it now enjoys.I intend to maintain the standards she set. This challenge is made easier because of the remarkable people on the magazine’s Editorial Board. On top of that, our staff team at ABA Publishing works hard to make all of us look good. Join us at one of the Board meetings. Be aware, however, that you may find yourself recruited to write an article.

GPSolo does not operate in a vacuum. The Editorial Board sets the agenda; we choose the topics and the articles for each issue. Then we search for good writers. This is not law review or even legal brief writing. As you read these articles, watch the style. It is conversational and informative—no footnotes and no case citations. Let us know if you are interested in writing. We will let you know the topics for upcoming issues. There might be one that fits.

And if something in this magazine touches you—for good or bad—let us know. If you have ideas about future issues, let us know that, as well. You can reach me at or by phone at 216/221-8825.

Now, turn the page, read the Chair’s column, and keep turning the pages and reading until the end. When you are done, think about your own health and remember what Mark Twain said, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.” Ain’t it the truth?

Joan M. Burda, editor-in-chief of GPSOLO, operates a solo practice in Lakewood, Ohio, and may be reached at .

Copyright 2007

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