Through the tireless efforts of members of the council, the subcommittees of the section's Substantive Law Committee, and other section members, the council can proudly say this has been an excellent and successful year of section education, publication, and service. The hard work has also sown the seeds for continued success in the 2002-2003 year.
The Michigan Health Law Report
The council, after considering the views of section members, discontinued the publication of the section's Year in Review and replaced it with a new publication, the Michigan Health Law Report. The Report will be published on a semi-annual basis with the first issue published in the summer of 2002. The slant of this publication will be on Michigan health law as opposed to national health law, which is available from so many other sources. All section members are encouraged to contribute articles, news briefs, and commentary concerning Michigan health law issues.
Health Care Records Manual, 2002 Edition
The Health Care Records Retention Manual, previously produced in 1996, was edited, updated, and issued to section members this spring. The cost of the first copy to all section members in 2002 was covered by dues. Additional copies are available through the State Bar offices for a reasonable charge.
Health Care Law Section Directory
The section published the first directory of section members in April of 2002. For those section members who elected to provide them, the directory includes members' practice areas. The first copy was provided to members at no extra charge; additional copies are available for a reasonable charge from the State Bar office.
Health Care Fraud and Abuse Law Manual
A new fraud and abuse manual for health attorneys is expected to be published and distributed to section members in the summer of 2002. The manual, which structurally resembles the other law manuals put out by the section, should prove to be a very useful reference for fraud, abuse, and kickback issues on all levels.
Working with the State Bar staff and consultants, a team of committed section members has been working to substantially upgrade the section' s website. Many of the changes have already been implemented and more are expected throughout the year.
HIPAA Work Group Preemption Analysis
For many months, a relatively large group of members of the section and the Michigan Society of Healthcare Attorneys, along with others, have put together a preemption analysis for HIPAA privacy requirement compliance. The work group produced a comprehensive report which has been made available in electronic and paper format to all section members as part of their dues. Additional copies may be obtained for a reasonable charge through the State Bar office.
The annual section meeting is now scheduled at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids at 10:00 a.m. on September 26, 2002. Because of the financial crises being faced by so many institutional health care providers in the state and nation, the educational component will focus on what it takes to effectively turn around an organization in financial trouble from the perspective of those who do it and those who have lived through it. Scheduled speakers are Mr. David Coates, a hospital turnaround specialist from the Hunter Group, and Dr. Arthur Porter, President of the Detroit Medical Center, who successfully led his organization through a challenging turnaround experience.
The section bylaws were reviewed and changes have been proposed to bring them up-to-date. A section vote on the proposed amendments is expected at the September Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids.
New Subcommittees and Work Group
This year, the Substantive Law Committee of the section, which oversees section education programming, added two new subcommittees, a Consumers Law Subcommittee and a Technology Issues Subcommittee, to the already existing Providers and Payors Subcommittees. In addition, a Pro Bono Services Work Group was formed to establish ways in which members of the section can provide pro bono services in their areas of expertise. Beginning next Bar year, the section will also have a Medical-Legal Subcommittee which will focus on professional liability and bioethics.
This State Bar year, the section sponsored eight successful programs. These are:
- The Eighth Annual ICLE Health Law Institute was co-sponsored by the section, providing considerable input into the program design and agenda. Also many section members presented valuable information at and/or guidance for the program.
- With co-sponsor The Michigan Society of Healthcare Attorneys, the section produced a program concerning "HIPAA Privacy and Technology issues," featuring nationally recognized expert Alan Goldberg.
- A panel presentation educating section members on "Michigan's Medicaid Hospital Access Agreement" by Chris Rossman, Carol Isascs, and Bob Smedes, under the joint oversight and organization of the Payors Subcommittee and Providers Subcommittee.
- A live "Annual Legislative Update forum" for all section members featuring Representative Andy Neumann (Vice Chair, Health Policy Committee, Michigan House of Representatives), Dale Shugars (Chairman, Senate Health Committee), and various industry representatives, organized by the Providers Subcommittee.
- A live and phone-in "Program on Biotechnology" for section members featuring an industry expert, organized by the Technology Committee.
- A live and call-in double-header program on the HIPAA privacy and security regulations. The first presentation, made by representatives of the section's HIPAA Task Force, was a report on the task force's preemption analysis of the HIPAA privacy regulations and state law. The second presentation, sponsored by the New Technology Subcommittee, involved a presentation entitled, "Healthcare Industry Responses to the HIPAA Security Regulations," featuring Joel French, reviewed the difficulties providers and payors will have in implementing security regulations, current preparedness of the industry, and a summary of solutions and approaches and the relative advantages of each.
- The section's first interactive telephone call-in only seminar, arranged by the Providers Subcommittee, and entitled, "Anatomy of an EMTALA Investigation." The program focused on the issues attorneys for providers are likely to face in the event of an investigation under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act and was presented by an impressive array of speakers including Robert P. Daily of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Walt Wheeler of the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services.
- The Consumers Subcommittee organized a community service presentation involving section lawyers, legal aid attorneys, and other attorneys who regularly represent senior citizens and low income people concerning advance directives and other treatment issues, healthcare billing and collection practices, and the Patient Right to Independent Review Act. The presentation was designed to help clear up common misunderstandings between consumers and providers and offer some recommendations as to how representatives of consumers can communicate their needs and problems more efficiently to providers of all types.
The Council regularly receives requests for the member mailing labels of the section from advertisers, candidates for office, and well-meaning section members who would like to use the labels for announcements. After extensive review of the pros and cons, the council decided that, out of respect for section member privacy, the section mailing labels would only be used for section business or section-sponsored events and the labels would not be released for any other purpose. While a mailing list of members could be compiled from other sources, the council felt any other decision would be disrespectful to the interests of the members.
The council wishes to thank the section members and others whose efforts made this a highly successful year for the council and section. The council welcomes continued participation in its education and service offerings and urges all section members to join in the development and presentation of next year's programs and publications.