By Kim Licata

Happy holidays! This time of year gives us time to look back over the past months and forward to what’s ahead.  With this in mind, like my counterpart at the N.C. Society of Health Care Attorneys, President Jessica Lewis, I have the unique opportunity to welcome you to the new electronic-only Prognosis format. The hard work of our Newsletter Committee and the editors from the society has led to the successful launch of our new blog format.

At last year’s annual meeting in April,  the section welcomed new council members Andrew Walsh, general counsel for Partners Behavioral Health; Scott Templeton of Robinson Lawing; Sarah Crotts of Wall Babcock LLP; Ian Stauffer of Poyner Spruill, and Marc Hewitt of Smith Moore. We welcome back our council members from prior years as well. In addition to myself, our section officers are Jennifer Hutchens of Robinson Bradshaw as our vice chair, Kimberly Kirk of Moore Van Allen as our secretary, and Tina Simpson of Burgeon Legal Group as our treasurer.  Our Section Council and Committee members have been active so far this year in planning and I am looking forward to seeing all the great things we can do together this term.

As always our section is a leader in community involvement and professional activities. I am very excited about the progress our Long-Range Planning Committee has made on our law student outreach initiative! In October, we conducted our well-regarded transactional presentation, “What Every First Year Associate Should Know About a Health Care Transaction”, for law students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  We have similar presentations scheduled at many of the North Carolina law schools with the aim of doing the presentation at all our law schools during the 2016-2017 term.  Our presentation has been such a success by providing an often missing aspect of law school – what it’s really like to be a junior lawyer on a deal and what are best practices. While the presentation uses a health care law situation as a case study, the actual presentation covers topics of interest to really any law student interested in transactional law.

Our Special Projects Committee continues to be actively working on new and existing projects of the section from new health care consumer focused information clinics to our existing “Got Plans?” and Safe Haven awareness initiatives.  I’m personally very excited about the new public service initiative focused on access to affordable care, a problem that affects millions of Americans and many in our state.  I look forward to hearing more about this initiative as it takes flight and encourage section members to volunteer.

A date to keep in mind: Our annual meeting will be held at the North Carolina Bar Association Center in Cary on April 28, 2017! Mark your calendars now!

We look forward to the contributions of our section members on new initiatives of interest to you, your clients, and your communities. I personally encourage each of you to get involved in the discussions and reach out to your council or committee members with your suggestions. For the many new volunteers on our council committees,  thank you, I appreciate your service. For those of you considering whether to volunteer, please do. Our section benefits from new and different perspectives. We hope this new format brings more timely information to you all and we appreciate any feedback that you may have.

Kim Licata is managing counsel, corporate team with the Office of General Counsel, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.