May 16, 2011

Panelists to discuss 1986, 2010 health care laws

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Panelists at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will look at how themes central to federal laws put in place in 2010 will impact or improve upon federal health policy laws enacted 25 years ago.

“The Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 Meets the Era of Health Care Reform: Continuing Themes and Common Threads,” is set for Friday, May 20, at the 13th annual SIH/SIU Health Policy Institute.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews 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 communication and outreach, at 618/453-8700.

Registration ranges from $50 to $100, with continuing legal and medical education credits available. Pre-registration is preferred but on-site registration is available the day of the program. Online registration is available at Registration is also available by calling 618/536-7751 or by FAX at 618/453-5680.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues many similar themes of the government’s role in health care that came with the 1986 Health Care Quality Improvement Act (HCQIA), said Michele Mekel, an assistant professor who is also with the law school’s Center for Health Law and Policy. Other themes involve the relationships between health care providers and health care payers -- the government and insurance companies, and hospitals and physicians, she said.

The focus for those attending will be to see how the two laws build upon each other, Mekel said. The conference will give health care providers, policymakers, physicians, attorneys, and others who are interested in the medical and legal issues that involve health care reform some perspective on “where we’ve come from,” she said.

“Far too often we look at new legislation or a new trend from within a vacuum,” she said.

Mekel hopes participants gain perspective on the history of the government’s involvement with health care quality, data monitoring and provider relationships, and then use that in determining “where we are going as we unfold health care reform.”

The annual symposium is important to the law school, and is one of the reasons the health law policy program has a strong national reputation, said Cynthia L. Fountaine, law school dean. The health law program ranked No. 19 in the country in a recent U.S. News & World Report specialty ranking for law schools.

“Although the public conversation about the federal government’s involvement in the quality of health care is relatively recent, our health law faculty, as well as the physicians, lawyers and public health professionals who will be presenting, have spent their professional careers working with health regulatory policy,” Fountaine said. “It will be extremely interesting to reflect on this evolution, as well as to anticipate what lies ahead for health law and policy in this country.

“Bringing experts from across the country to Carbondale each year for this Institute, now in its 13th year, is not only a great opportunity for people in this region, it also helps us spread the word about the good work being done here at SIU,” Fountaine said.

The law school is also grateful to Southern Illinois Healthcare for its “longstanding financial support” of the SIH/SIU Health Policy Institute, Fountaine said.

The annual conference helps the law school to continue building its national program, Mekel said.

“This is a great way that the law school and the Center for Health Law and Policy can reach out and provide an educational opportunity for Southern Illinois health care attorneys and regional health care providers that would otherwise not be available to them,” Mekel said. “The program brings nationally and internationally renowned speakers on issues that matter to them in their practice.”

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

The event schedule is:

  • 8:30 a.m. -- Registration.
  • 9 a.m. -- Welcome and introductions. Cynthia L. Fountaine, dean, SIU School of Law, and Woody Thorne, vice president, community affairs, Southern Illinois Healthcare.

Morning moderator: Michele Mekel, assistant professor of law, SIU School of Law, assistant professor of medical humanities, SIU School of Medicine Department of Medical Humanities.

  • 9:15 a.m. -- “Hospital-Physician Relations in a Post-Health Care Reform Environment.” Dr. David C. Pate, president and CEO, St. Luke’s Health System, Boise, Idaho.
  • 10:30 a.m. -- “From Boycotts to Consolidation: The 180-degree Arc of Antitrust Concern in the 25 Years Since HCQIA.” Mark Rust, managing partner, Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg, LLP.
  • Noon -- “Historic and Personal Reflections on HCQIA -- Perspectives of a Former Federal Executive.” Dr. William A. Robinson, public health consultant, with more than 36 years experience in various posts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Afternoon moderator: Ross Silverman, professor and chair, Department of Medical Humanities, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and professor of medical jurisprudence, SIU School of Law.

  • 1:15 p.m. -- “The Evolution of Quality Health Care Reporting.” Kristin Madison, professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School.
  • 2:15 p.m. -- “State Medical Boards: Future Challenges for Regulation and Quality Enhancement of Medical Care.” Dr. James M. Thompson, senior consultant, The Hayes Group International, and former dean of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

For more information on the symposium, visit