Chair's Column: Do You See What I See?

By Hal Katz, Husch Blackwell LLP, Austin, TX

It’s been a steep climb, but we’ve made it half-way through the Bar year! Six months ago, we weren’t quite sure how family, work, and the rest of life would be impacted by the continued pandemic, or what things would look like down the road, but we’re making it. Everyone has been impacted, from major life disruption to the most unimaginable devastation. We have a long way to go, but we will get through these challenges. We may not know exactly when, or what it will look like, but I see people coming together across the country and making notable progress. If we all strive to be our best selves and focus on one day at a time, we will look back with pride and a sense of accomplishment. 

In spite of our challenges, we’ve had much success. Thanks to the dedicated Section leaders and staff, we’re on track with our goals of (i) maintaining the Section’s role as an industry thought leader; (ii) Increasing the Section’s awareness of racial, gender, and ethnic inequities, and implementation of remediation initiatives; (iii) creating opportunities for meaningful and authentic connections; and (iv) promoting the importance of well-being. While we can’t say for sure that the second half of the Bar year will be any easier than the first, it will at least be just as full. Let me share with you what you will see.

Thought leadership continues! For starters, the 22nd Annual Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law is next month (March 8th-12th). It may be virtual, but it stands up to any prior years’ programming, with the most important topics and issues of the day. All of the credit goes to the Planning Committee Co-chairs Brian Nichols (Cigna) and Matt Fisher (Carium), as well as their Planning Committee members Jeff Calk (Waller), Joe Geraci (Husch Blackwell), Denise Hanna (Locke Lord LLP), William Mathias (Baker Donelson), Jennifer Mitchell (Dinsmore & Shohl), Kirsten McAuliffe Raleigh (Stevens & Lee), and Tiffany Navarro Santos (Trucker Huss APC). Here’s a sampling of what to expect:

  • Disruption: how digital health, telehealth, artificial intelligence, and new care models are driving the changes in healthcare.
  • Dangers of physician-owned MSOs and how to defend them.
  • Key Issues in reimbursement and coverage disputes during a pandemic (FFCRA, CARES Act, and COVID-19 reimbursement).
  • Operational and regulatory challenges faced by the industry during the onset of COVID-19.
  • Discrimination law developments in the healthcare data and technology context, and whether Artificial Intelligence and Big data are redefining healthcare rights.
  • Assessing whether the recent final rules to the Stark Law and Anti-kickback Statute will impact valuation practices.  
  • Legal issues when mandating vaccines - enforcement and exemptions.
  • Methodologies for calculating damages in provider-payor disputes.

We’re sad we won’t be able to see everyone, but I’ve included some pictures from past years’ EMI to remind everyone of the wonderful friendships and connections that are always made and renewed.

We’re delivering on our commitment to increase equity, diversity and inclusion awareness, and implement remediation efforts. We focused the first half of the year on awareness, and now we turn to implementing initiatives that remove unintentional biases that exist in engagement efforts, program development, and leadership recruitment. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will be making recommendations to Council on changes that ensure greater diversity, more inclusion, and that a sense of belonging is felt by everyone in the Section.

Creating opportunities for meaningful and authentic connections haven’t been the easiest. We’re continuing to experiment with the technology platforms to bring together members and guests for meetings, networking opportunities, and CLE. We’ll be continuing our efforts, are open to your suggestions, and appreciate your patience through our virtual interactions!

We’re delivering regular well-being experiences and content. We launched a well-being page on the Section’s site, which includes access to live and recorded yoga, meditation, and other resources. Last month we launched a three-part wellness series that can be implemented from your desk. Created and led by Gioconda Parker, the sessions support physical, mental, and emotional health. The sessions will continue each month throughout the remainder of the Bar year, at no cost. Each session offers a different area of health and wellness (Breath & Meditation; Stretching & Moving; and Breath & Movement Practice), for overall health and well-being. Live monthly vinyasa flow classes will also continue through the end of the Bar year and will also be led by Gioconda Parker. Both new and experienced yogis are welcome!

Lastly, all year we’re celebrating the Section’s 25th Anniversary. We’re using the milestone to raise money to support the Section’s charitable efforts in advancing the health law practice in all of its many facets and applications. I’ve made a personal $1,000 contribution. Anything you can contribute would be greatly appreciated! Donations can be made here.

Thank you for reading, and for all your support! Feel free to send me your feedback or requests at hal.katz@huschblackwell.com.

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Healthcare lawyers and industry leaders look forward each year to the Annual Conference on Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law, and this year is no different! We may be virtual, but they’re will be plenty of opportunities to connect with thought leaders, colleagues, and friends, just as in years past.

Join us March 8-12, 2021! Register here: ambar.org/EMI2021

Since we can’t be in person, we’re sharing pictures from the archives as a part of our Celebration of 25 years as a Section!

2008 EMI - San Diego, CA

Martin Thompson, Abbey Palagi, David Humiston, Shelley Hubner, Sarah Keller

Martin Thompson, Abbey Palagi, David Humiston, Shelley Hubner, Sarah Keller

Mia Garcia, Diane Carter, Michelle Apodaca, Bill Hopkins

Mia Garcia, Diane Carter, Michelle Apodaca, Bill Hopkins

Dina Richman, Jennifer Thompson, Hal Katz, Julie Nielson, Mark Abernathy, Shelley Hubner

Dina Richman, Jennifer Thompson, Hal Katz, Julie Nielson, Mark Abernathy, Shelley Hubner