Health Care Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan

August 2008

Section LinksSection Links

HCLS Website
Council Information
Writing Competition
Health Law Index
Section Listservs
Seminar Materials

Section LinksBar Links

SBM Website
Calendar of Events
Public Policy



Chair's Letter From Lisa Panah
There are two more educational programs sponsored by the Health Care Law Section for this Section year. The first program is a teleconference on ePrescribing, which will be held on September 3. The second educational program, “To Err is Human—But at What Cost?,” is part of the HCLS Annual Meeting, which will be an in-person meeting held at the Detroit Institute of Arts on September 23. You will receive several more opportunities to register for these programs, including by clicking on the links in this newsletter. Please make sure to register soon.

VSP Amicus Brief Task Force
The Section formed a new task force to prepare and file an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of a Petition for Certiorari to hear the Vision Service Plan v. United States of America case. The amicus brief will state that the decisions by the United States District Court, Eastern District of California and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit create great confusion in tax exemption law when compared to other precedent and should be addressed and clarified by the United States Supreme Court.

To give a little background, in 1960, the IRS granted VSP tax exempt status as a social welfare organization under IRC Section 501(c)(4). Without any material change to the operations of VSP, the IRS revoked its tax exemption in 2002. The District Court granted summary judgment to the United States, basically supporting revocation of VSP's tax-exempt status because it operates primarily for the benefit of its members, rather than the community as a whole, ignoring numerous legal precedents to the contrary. The Ninth Circuit affirmed.

The VSP case presents difficulties for HMOs and other health care organizations with IRC Section 501(c)(4) status. There is general concern within the health care industry that the case could lead to problems for IRC Section 501(c)(3) organizations should the IRS become emboldened by its court victories.

The VSP Amicus Brief Task Force is chaired by Ann Hollenbeck. If you are interested in joining the VSP Task Force or have any questions about it, please contact Ann at as soon as possible. Amicus briefs are due September 8.

Miller v. Allstate Amicus Brief Task Force
In March, the Miller v. Allstate Amicus Brief Task Force filed an amicus brief with the Michigan Supreme Court on the Miller v. Allstate Insurance Company matter, a case with the potential to significantly impact the corporate status of health care providers and their ability to recover benefits from no-fault insurers. On July 2, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a decision, holding, in part, that only the Michigan Attorney General has the authority to challenge whether or not a corporation is properly incorporated. Read the Decision.


Other Events Writing Competition

  • The deadline for submitting a writing that ties in with the HCLS Annual Meeting educational program topic has been extended to August 31. More Information.

Other EventsSection Events

  • September 3 ePrescribing: What Health Lawyers Need to Know Teleconference
  • September 23 HCLS Annual Meeting at the Detroit Institute of Arts

Section EventsOther Events

  • Sept.–May ICLE's Business Boot Camp I