May 08, 2009

Symposium explores issues in health care reform

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Nationally recognized experts will meet this week at the Southern Illinois University School of Law to discuss the impact of potential governmental changes in the health care delivery system for both providers and patients.

“Emerging Issues in Health Care Regulation: Protecting Patients or Punishing Providers,” is set for Friday, May 15, at the 11th annual SIH/SIU Health Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

W. Eugene Basanta, law professor and co-director of the law school’s Center for Health Law and Policy, said a few previous institutes focused on health care financing issues. This symposium looks at the potential impact any new governmental regulations could have for both health care providers and patients.

Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend any of the sessions. To schedule a specific presenter for an interview, contact Alicia Ruiz, the law school’s director of communications and outreach, at 618/453-8700.

According to the symposium’s brochure, a key component in the symposium is “whether present and emerging approaches to health care regulation are likely to produce as a primary result the protection of important patient interests or the punitive restriction of provider professional autonomy and financial viability.”

Registration ranges from $50 to $100, with continuing education credit available. Pre-registration is preferred but on-site registration is available the day of the program. The program will appeal to health care providers and hospital administrators, physicians, nurses, attorneys, patient advocates, and the general public.

Marshall A. Kapp, law professor and center co-director, emphasized that the debate on health care financing options in Washington, D.C., is not the only issue to be concerned with. Current health care reform efforts under consideration in Illinois are also important to keep track of, he said.

“There are a lot of other pieces to the regulatory puzzle on both the federal and state levels that have to be followed as well,” he said.

One of the biggest challenges is coordination and communication between those interested in health care finance reform and others interested in sweeping reforms to the health care delivery system, Kapp said.

“Coordinating those two efforts is one of the big challenges,” he said.

Speakers include Robert J. Kane, the assistant vice president and legal counsel for the Illinois State Medical Society. He will discuss developments in Illinois that impact health care delivery by physicians and hospitals, Basanta said.

Another presenter is the American Medical Association’s Patricia Sokol, whose focus involves patient-safety issues.

“That is a big area of interest, trying to ensure the safety of patients while they are cared for in hospitals and physicians’ offices,” Basanta said.

The symposium will be of interest to a wide range of audiences, Kapp said. Health care providers will gain insight into current regulatory initiatives and the ideas for complying and responding to them in a way that benefits patients, he said. The sessions also provide attorneys with advice and knowledge to help when representing both health care providers and patients. The symposium also gives the public a glimpse and understanding on current issues facing health care.

Southern Illinois Healthcare, the SIU School of Medicine, the law school’s Center for Health Law and Policy, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, and the St. Louis-based Sandberg, Phoenix & von Gontard law firm are program sponsors.

The event schedule is:

  • 9 a.m. -- Welcome and introductions. Law school Dean Peter C. Alexander and Rex Budde, president, Southern Illinois Healthcare.

Morning moderator: Marshall B. Kapp, Garwin Distinguished Professor of Law and Medicine, professor of medical humanities, co-director, Center for Health Law and Policy, SIU School of Law.

  • 9:15 a.m. -- “Paying Physicians to Improve Health Care Quality and Efficiency: The Regulatory Challenges.” Daniel H. Melvin, partner and member of the Health Law Department, McDermott Will & Emery. LLP, Chicago.
  • 10:30 a.m. -- “Evolution of the Healthcare Quality Journey from an Emphasis on Cost Reduction to a Focus on Facilitating Patient Safety.” Dr. John Anderson, executive vice president of InfoMedic, Inc., and medical director/project manager for Student Health Services, Norfolk State University.
  • Noon -- “Illinois Legal Developments Affecting Physicians and Hospitals,” Robert J. Kane, assistant vice president/legal counsel, Illinois State Medical Society.

Afternoon moderator: W. Eugene Basanta, Southern Illinois Healthcare Professor of Law, professor of medical humanities, co-director, Center for Health Law and Policy, SIU School of Law.

  • 1:15 p.m. -- “An un-Reason-able Environment -- Punishing Patients and Physicians.” Patricia E. Sokol, senior policy analyst, clinical quality improvement and patient safety, American Medical Association.
  • 2:15 p.m. -- “The Hospital Board: In Search of Its Mission.” John D. Blum, John J. Waldron Research Professor of Health Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

For more information on the symposium, visit