Health Law

Health Law Section Annual Report 2013-14

The Health Law Section, ably encouraged and supported by the D.C. Bar staff, has had another successful year of programs, community outreach initiatives, and other activities in the 2013 D.C. Bar year and looks forward to an equally successful year in 2014.  As in past years, the steering committee has worked cooperatively with other sections and with D.C. Bar staff in many different areas.  We sponsored several programs and other activities in 2013 and are planning programs and activities for 2014. The section steering committee holds monthly meetings by telephone conference call. Section Steering Committee Cochairs Jen Cromwell and Selina Coleman chair these meetings with the able assistance of D.C. Bar Staff, including David Itkin and Candace Smith-Tucker.  Email communications are used between regular meeting times to coordinate activities and events.  A summary of the section's activities in 2013 and our activities for 2014 follows.

The section sponsored several programs in 2013 on topics such as an update from the Office of Inspector General and speed-networking events. The programs committee is planning a reception early 2014 at the office of Norton Rose Fulbright.  Potential programs on global health and the Physician Payment Sunshine Act are also being considered.  Steering committee members Alan Arville and Hemi Tewarson lead the programs committee. 

Community Outreach
The community outreach committee is in the process of coordinating the update of both the patient and practitioner versions of the section's award-winning Patient Rights Manual. We are seeking the assistance of the Pro Bono Program in reviewing, updating and revising all of the chapters of each Manual. While there was enthusiasm from section members for the Health Care Decision-Making Project, it was difficult for the community outreach committee to secure volunteers for the workshops on advance directives. Thus, the community outreach committee, with the approval of the steering committee, suspended the Health Care Decision-Making Project for 2013-2014. With leadership from the new practitioners committee, the section has in the past sponsored well-attended volunteer events at the D.C. Central Kitchen, which it will consider sponsoring again in 2014.  The section's community outreach committee is cochaired by Cathy Scheineson and Jeff Wurzburg for 2013-2014.

The section issues an email newsletter approximately four times annually.  Jen Cromwell and Erica Spector coordinate the publication of the enewsletter for 2013-2014.The section is responsible for updating the Mental Health Proceedings and the Health Maintenance Organization Act chapters of the D.C. Practice Manual. For 2013, the Mental Health Proceedings chapter was updated by Sherry Trafford, Kim Clark and Hadley Truettner, Staff Attorneys for the D.C. Public Defender Service. The HMO Act chapter was updated by Stephanie Willis and Teresa Carnegie of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, serving jointly as author and reviewer. Both chapters will be updated for 2014.  Hemi Tewarson serves as the D.C. Practice Manual coordinator for 2013-2014.

Web Site and Internet
The steering committee continues to work with the Sections Office staff to ensure that information on the section web page is current and useful. Our enewsletter is also cross-linked to the website, and we have added information about other health law events. We also plan to use the one-way Listserv email list to advertise events to our members.  Steering committee member Jeff Wurzburg serves as the Internet Coordinator for 2013-2014.

Nominating Committee
The nominating committee, chaired by steering committee member Jennifer Hitchon, is in the process of recruiting candidates to run in 2014 for steering committee seats. Selina Coleman and Lisa Goldstein, a member of the new practitioner committee, also serve on the nominating committee.

New Practitioners Committee
The new practitioners committee (NPC) has been in existence since June 2004 and has sponsored many successful programs with strong attendance.  One main goal of NPC is to expose  recent health attorneys to different career opportunities open to them as they progress in their careers.  New members of the NPC are being recruited, and the NPC hosted speed mentoring evenings with mentors and mentees, including in October 2013, during which experienced health care attorneys talked with new practitioners.  To engage members and facilitate in-person networking, the committee held several happy hours this year. The NPC also maintains a subgroup on LinkedIn to foster online networking opportunities for new practitioners.  Erica Spector serves as the chair of the NPC, and she also serves as the membership coordinator for the section, for 2013-2014.

The section's financial condition is sound. Membership remains stable, and we currently have a budget surplus. Because we have more than adequate reserves, we intend to make several donations to D.C. legal organizations that serve the community. Former steering committee cochair Cathy Scheineson serves as financial officer for 2013-2014.

CLE Programs
The section will continue to offer its CLE "Introduction to Health Law" Series during the first quarter of 2014. Erica Spector and Rebecca Burke have primary responsibility for planning new CLE programs, in coordination with the D.C. Bar CLE Office.

Current Membership
The current members of the steering committee are: Alan Arville, Rebecca Burke, Selina Coleman, Jenifer Cromwell, Jennifer Hitchon, Cathy Scheineson, Erica Spector, Hemi Tewarson and Jeff Wurzburg. The section is fortunate to have so many members (including past members of the steering committee) who are active and involved in section activities. 

With the valued assistance of the D.C. Bar staff and in further cooperation with other sections of the D.C. Bar, the steering committee looks forward with confidence to another successful year of section activities and events.