Mark Hansen

Committee Chair Corner – Medical Defense and Health Law Committee
Mark Hansen
Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, Peoria, IL

I have had the pleasure of serving as Chair of the Medical Defense and Health Law Committee for the past year. The Committee consists of members who routinely represent physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers and entities in medical malpractice actions; health law advisory and regulatory support such as defense of Qui Tam actions, federal fraud, and abuse claim evaluation and defense; peer review/quality improvement counseling; and licensure board appearances. We also have members who regularly represent nursing home clients in litigation and other matters.

Our primary goal is to provide value to our members through CLE programs, Webinars, and newsletter articles. Additionally, our monthly calls typically include a point of law discussion led by one of our Vice Chairs. Through our programs, publications, and monthly calls, we keep our members informed of developments in the law and provide them with knowledge they can use to achieve the best results for their clients.

As a Committee, we strive to publish a newsletter on a regular basis. Since the 2017 Annual Meeting, we have published a newsletter every month on a number of interesting topics, including:

We also routinely provide CLE programs on topics that are of great interest to our members. For instance, at the 2018 Midyear Meeting, we sponsored or co-sponsored three CLE programs:

  • High Stakes Litigation: Same Actors, Different Script
  • Preparing a Corporate Witness for Deposition – Perspectives From a Corporate Witness and From Defense Counsel
  • Is Your Civil Client in Danger of Criminal Charges?

As far as future CLE programs are concerned, we encourage you to register for the Webinar we are presenting next week:

  • Measuring the Value of Medical Services in Personal Injury Suits

May 9 (12:00 - 1:00 p.m. CDT)
Registration is currently open at

This Webinar will provide guidance on the appropriate methodology to measure the value of medical services in personal injury suits. It will address why the approach typically taken by life care planners in personal injury suits is incorrect and does not account for the reimbursement mechanisms in the healthcare marketplace. While most life care planners rely on billed charges to establish the value of healthcare services, providers’ charges do not reflect what is actually paid for care. In fact, billed charges are almost never paid, and providers willingly accept less (sometimes substantially less) than the charges. The presenters will discuss these issues and how the issues are addressed in personal injury lawsuits.

Speakers: Greg Russo, Berkley Research Group, Washington, DC; JoAnna Younts, Berkley Research Group, Washington, DC.; and Henry Miller, Berkley Research Group, Phoenix, AZ (Moderator).

Looking forward, we are sponsoring or co-sponsoring several terrific programs at the 2018 Annual Meeting in July, including:

  • Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession

More and more legal work is being delegated to machines including document review, due diligence, and decisions about where to file a case and its likely outcome. What exactly is meant by “artificial intelligence,” and how does it work? In this cutting-edge session, two leading experts in AI will cover what supervised machine learning is, how it is currently being used in the legal profession, what issues it raises for lawyers, and what impact AI may have on the delivery of legal services in the future.

Speakers: Mark Bowman, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Toronto, ON Canada; Professor Maura Grossman, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON Canada; and R. Douglas Vaughn, Deutsch Kerrigan, LLP, Gulfport, MS (Moderator).

  • Challenging the Plaintiff’s Economic Damages Expert

This program will demonstrate how to effectively challenge an economic damages expert in a commercial case. The program will showcase a mock cross examination of the plaintiff’s forensic accounting expert by a skilled litigator. The demonstration will be followed by a moderated discussion and debriefing addressing what was most effective in the cross-examination, and discussing the various strategies to best expose the weaknesses in a damages expert report.

Speakers: Stephanie Rippee, Watkins & Eager PLLC, Jackson, MS; James Stanbury, FCA, MAE, ACIArb, RGL Forensics, London, England; and Erik Legg, Farrell, White & Legg PLLC, Huntington, WV (Moderator).

  • The Nice Factor: Benefits in Litigation and Life

A “happiness expert” will explain the significant health and relationship benefits of behaving altruistically. This program will discuss the science which shows that positive emotions lead to objective measures of increased life success. Attendees will learn about the neurophysiology that can make good relationships happen more easily and with more reward. This program will also feature a leading professional responsibility and ethics lawyer who will address the importance of civility between lawyers as a matter of legal ethics, including such issues as: What do lawyers mean when they talk about civility? Is civility good advocacy? Is civility inconsistent with a lawyer’s duty to be a zealous advocate for clients? At what point does incivility become professional misconduct?

Speakers: Paul Krismer, Happiness Experts Company, Victoria, BC Canada; Gavin MacKenzie, MacKenzie Barristers, Toronto, ON Canada; and Bonnie Mayfield, Dykema Gossett PLLC, Bloomfield Hills, MI (Moderator).

We are also currently working on a “special project.” Specifically, we are working to develop a Medical Liability Roundtable that will be generally modeled upon the Professional Liability Roundtable. The Medical Liability Roundtable will focus upon issues relating to the defense of medical liability cases and will feature presentations of interest to lawyers and claims professionals. We plan to propose this concept to the Board of Directors in the near future.

Finally, we are fortunate to have a talented group of Vice Chairs, all of whom have made significant contributions to the success of the Committee. Those Vice Chairs include:

  • Programs and Projects: Erik Legg
  • Publications: Robert Smith
  • Webinar: Constance Endelicato
  • Membership: Christian Hines
  • Communications: Dan Longo
  • Diversity: Paula Koczan
  • Nursing Home/Long Term Care: Mary Anne Mellow
  • Insurance Executives: Stephanie Sheps
  • Corporate Counsel: Monica Frois
  • Corporate Counsel: Steven Schwegman
  • International: Kurt Gerstner

Without the hard work and commitment of our Vice Chairs, we could not provide the quality programming and publications that our members have come to expect.

The Medical Defense and Health Law Committee is a very active committee. We consistently provide content that is both interesting and valuable to our members and to the IADC membership generally. If you have any interest in becoming an active member of the Medical Defense and Health Law Committee, please join our monthly conference calls which are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 3:00 p.m. CDT. 

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