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March 03, 2021

Experts to discuss mandatory vaccines, disruption and AI at ABA meeting

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2021 — Experts participating in the American Bar Association 22nd Annual Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law Conference will tackle hot-button topics, including the future of federal and state healthcare programs, medical-legal partnerships, prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the industry, big data and AI.

What:   Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law Sponsored by the ABA Health Law Section

When:  Monday-Friday, March 8-12

Where: Virtual

Bethany Hamilton, co-director of the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership at the Department of Health Policy and Management, Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., will give the keynote address on Tuesday at 10 a.m. CT.

Program highlights include:

“Disruption in the Healthcare Industry” — Health care is undergoing changes on many fronts, including fundamental shifts of how care is delivered and reimbursed. Panelists from diverse backgrounds will discuss digital health, artificial intelligence, new care models and other developments from a practical, on-the-ground perspective. The discussion will focus on actual ideas being implemented from a non-legal perspective, including ideas that can be brought back to clients of attendees.  Monday, 12:15-1:15 p.m.

“Future of State Medicaid Programs” Our expert panel, including Karen Kimsey, director of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services in Richmond, Virginia, and Lynnette Rhodes, executive director of the Medical Assistance Plans Division, Georgia Department of Community Health in Atlanta, will discuss innovative designs and future expectations for this key program within the U.S. health care delivery system. Tuesday, 11:15-12:15 p.m.

“The Expanding Role of Nurse Practitioners: Challenges, Patient Care Impacts and COVID-19” As states across the country change their nurse practitioner (NP) scope of practice/supervision regulations to improve access to quality health care, questions arise as to the effects on patient care. This session will examine the reasons for changes in NP scope of practice and supervision regulations, national trends relating to physician oversight of NPs, and the resulting impact on patient care. The session will include case studies of four states with varying NP supervision regimes and will examine the challenges in devising appropriate NP supervision regulations. Finally, the session will review changes to NP scope of practice in light of COVID-19 and will discuss whether lasting impacts can be expected. Tuesday, 1:25-2:10 p.m.

“Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines: Public Health, Personal Autonomy and the Law” This session will provide an overview of the legal basis for vaccination requirements at the federal, state and/or local levels, including the basis/need to include exemptions. The panel will consider the possibility of a compulsory COVID-19 vaccination, including issues around enforcement, exemptions and other critical concerns. Wednesday, 10:45-11:45 a.m.


“Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Discrimination in Healthcare” An expert panel will present a review and evaluation of the developing law in discrimination regarding health care, with a focus on how risks and obligations are defined for big data and artificial intelligence. Additionally, an assessment of the law, identification of probable future developments and key information about how companies can navigate this increasingly complicated area will be discussed. Our focus will be on health care, but these principles extend to other areas of big data and artificial intelligence, including whether these discrimination issues are best addressed through privacy law. Thursday, 10-11 a.m.

“Theories and Assessment of Harm in Data Privacy and Data Breach Class Actions” The COVID-19 pandemic, which has generated a surge in telehealth and introduced the concept of contact tracing into our daily lives, is likely to expose businesses and governments to an increased risk of data privacy and data breach class actions related to health and other personal data. This session will review potential theories of harm as well as economic approaches and challenges to valuing, in class action settings, alleged unconsented use or misappropriation of health and other private data generated during this health care crisis. Thursday, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

“The Evolving Telehealth Landscape: 2020 and Beyond” In response to COVID-19, the federal government allowed for certain regulatory waivers to facilitate telehealth. Now that patients have experienced telehealth, there is no turning back. But how do we catch up with addressing privacy, cybersecurity and other regulatory and technology concerns in this evolving medical marketplace to meet consumer demands? This panel will examine the current regulatory framework and will explain how to best approach compliance issues. In addition, it will examine current legislative efforts to make permanent certain of the flexibilities allowed due to COVID-19 and will also discuss potential bases for enforcement actions as a result of the possible misuse of telehealth.Thursday, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

“Ethics: Medical-Legal Partnership & COVID-19: Law as Health Care in a Pandemic” Massive resources were deployed toward the modification of laws and policies outside the traditional boundaries of health law in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical-legal partnerships (MLP), which embed attorneys into the delivery of health care to remediate health-harming legal needs, were uniquely positioned to incorporate competency in the ever-evolving landscape of “non-health” health law into the delivery of a health care system that also was rapidly adapting to the realities of the pandemic. In this session, we will explore what MLP is as well as lessons learned when legal practitioners of this area of health law join health care practitioners in addressing the impact of COVID on health care and health disparities. Friday, 12:10-12:55 p.m.

A complete agenda can be found online.

This event is free and open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Priscilla Totten at [email protected].

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.