June 2011 Volume 7 Number 10

Chair's Column

By David H. Johnson, Bannerman & Johnson, P.A., Albuquerque, NM*

AuthorMy friend and colleague, Linda Baumann, asked if I would “guest author” this issue’s Chair’s column. I replied, “Of course,” thinking it would be useful practice for the work ahead, which begins in earnest this August when my term as Section Chair begins.

The first item I would like to mention is the Section’s annual Physician Legal Issues Conference, which is being held at Loyola University Law School in Chicago June 16-17. The program, which is in its 12th year, will focus on contemporary legal issues impacting physicians and medical groups. This year’s meeting, which has been expanded to one and one-half days, features presentations on the impact of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) on physician practice, physician participation in ACOs, hospital-physician relations and deals, and new developments in physician-related fraud and abuse and compliance.

The viewpoint of organized medicine is represented by Catherine Hanson, VP of Private Sector Advocacy for the American Medical Association (“AMA”) and AMA President Cecil Wilson. Other speakers include Lew Morris and Vickie Robinson of the OIG, Sandy Teplitzky, Almeta Cooper and David Hilgers (among others). My personal favorite presentation title is Libby Snelson’s “Dr. Faustus, I Presume? Physician Employment and the Medical Staff.”

In addition to our focus on the Section’s programs and publications for members, we also place a priority on healthcare policy advocacy. Our Healthcare Policy Task Force, which is chaired by Robyn Shapiro, has submitted a proposal to the ABA House of Delegates recommending greater oversight and the creation of standards for the direct-to-consumer genetic testing industry. The resulting Report and Recommendation (available here), whose principal author, Lynn Fleisher, is a former medical geneticist, will be considered by the House at the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto in August. The Report results from widely-reported findings of lax or absent standards within some sectors of the rapidly-grow­ing industry as well as serious concerns for the privacy of this sensitive information.

The Section, along with our Breast Cancer Task Force, will also be co-sponsoring the Cancer Legal Resource Center’s 2011 Cancer Rights Conferences.

These one-day conferences provide participants with comprehensive information about the most common cancer-related legal issues. This year’s conferences will occur June 24 in Chicago, September 23 in Washington, DC and October 21 in Ann Arbor. For more information, please visit www.CancerRightsConference.org.

Finally, I want to express my appreciation to my colleagues in the Section for selecting me as the Section’s next Chair. Linda Baumann has done a fine job as Chair. Filling her shoes will be no easy task. These are difficult times for volunteer professional associations, particularly in the areas of finance and membership. While budgetary constraints are real, I do believe we have an opportunity to further improve our services to members and look forward to meeting and working with you in the coming year.

*This month's Chair's Column is written by guest columnist, David H. Johnson. David is the Health Law Section's Chair Elect.

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