Bioethics & Health Law Center
Established in 2009, the Bioethics and Health Law Center of Mississippi College School of Law (MC Law) is committed to connecting students with members of the lay, medical, legal and policy-making communities. Located in downtown Jackson, minutes from Mississippi’s health care corridor, MC Law is uniquely positioned among regional law schools to open the lines of communication necessary to address contemporary healthcare dilemmas ranging from the beginning to the end of life.
The Center, in collaboration with the student-run Health Law Society, hosts local attorneys with thriving practices covering all aspects of health law from fraud & abuse litigation to hospital acquisitions and regulatory compliance. Students can increase their marketability by taking a wide range of courses, and are even able to graduate with a Certificate in Health Law.
Students at MC Law have multiple opportunities to gain hands-on experience. From clinics to externships students are able to hone their skills by working with practicing attorneys.
The MC Law externship program includes a number of health law-related externships, including positions with the:
- Mississippi Board of Nursing
- Mississippi State Medical Licensure Board
- MS Department of Medicaid
- MS Department of Mental Health; http://www.dmh.state.ms.us
- Mississippi Pharmacists Association; www.mspharm.org
- Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield
- Mississippi State Medical Association; www.msmaonline.com
- US Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Regional Counsel; (background check) www.va.gov
- University Medical Center, Children’s Justice Center
- University Medical Center, Office of General Counsel
Health Law Speaker Series
In November, the Health Law Society hosted Watkins & Eager attorneys, Joyce Hall and Rusty Comley. Joyce and Rusty are both graduates of MC Law. While at the meeting, they discussed legal matters relating to physicians, including Stark, Anti-Kickback, and HIPAA laws. Joyce discussed transactional and business issues while Rusty focused on litigation issues such as HIPAA breach cases and Medicaid appeals.
In October, the Health Law Society welcomed guest speakers Joyce Hall, left, member at Watkins & Eager in Jackson and Chair-Elect of the American Bar Association Health Law Section, and Conner Reeves, right, General Counsel at the Mississippi State Medical Association in Ridgeland. Both are MC Law alums.
Joyce informed students of the opportunity for free ABA and Health Law Section membership for the 2015-16 school year. Conner informed students about his duties as counsel for the state’s largest trade organization for physicians – a non-litigation and somewhat non-traditional health law career that encompasses business law, administrative law, public policy work, and more.
In September, the Health Law Society welcomed three speakers. MC Law alum Tina Brown gave attendees a look into an in-house counsel health law career by sharing about her work – including Medicare audit appeals – in serving as Corporate Counsel for Sta-Home Health Services, Inc. Guest speaker Professor Meta Copeland shared details about the numerous local and remote legal externships in the area of health law for MC Law students. Adjunct Professor Courtney Hunt spoke about her unique healthcare practice at the Mississippi Center for Justice, including her involvement with the HIV and the Law Clinic.
Joseph W. Blackston, MD, JD
Adjunct Professor of Law
Assistant Director, Bioethics & Health Law Center
Each year the Center invites panelists from around the country to participate in a symposium dedicated to issues of both national and regional importance.
- Access to Healthcare: A Medical-Legal Symposium (2015)
- Mental Health in Mississippi
- Implementing Health Care Reform (2013)
- Anesthetic Gas Reclamation – Medical Invention from a Legal Health Care Provider (2012)
- Amendment 26 – Exploring the Implications of Mississippi’s Personhood Initiative (2011)
Larry Jones from Baker Donelson discussed various trends in health care litigation including the recent Supreme Court decision, North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC.
The Health Law Society hosted Butler Snow Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Healthcare Group Attorneys: Paul Rosenblatt, La’Toyia Slay, Laura McCarthy.
The Health Law Society hosted a Career Panel where four panelists spoke about different areas of health law:
(1) Bob Anderson — Current Civil/Criminal Health Care Fraud Coordinator at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Alabama.
(2) Stephen Clay — Attorney at The Clay Firm practicing in Public Policy, Public Affairs, and Lobbying (especially in regard to Health Law matters).
(3) Julie B. Mitchell — Founding member of the Mitchell Day Health Law Firm, PLLC, where she focuses on Administrative and Regulatory practice, including RAC audits, Medicare appeals, and Medicaid appeals.
(4) Genie Stark Thomas — Current In-House Counsel at Magee General Hospital and former Assistant General Counsel with Baptist Health Systems.
Professor Meta Copeland spoke about health care related externships that are offered through the school, and Attorney Laura Moore, MC Law graduate and staff attorney at UMMC, spoke about her own externship experience
Health Law Society Officers reported back on their experience attending the ABA’s Emerging Issues in Health Law Conference in Miami, FL. It was a great opportunity for students to network with health law practitioners from across the country.
Phillips Strickland from the Department of Insurance came to speak about the Affordable Care Act and other related topics that concern the Mississippi Department of Insurance.
Larry McCarty, a recent MC Law graduate working at Phelps Dunbar, came to speak about the various facets of health law.
The Health Law Society welcomed Nancy Scott Degan, Chair Elect for the ABA Litigation Section; La’Verne Edney, attorney at Baker Donelson; and David Scott, Mississippi State Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates and attorney at Bradley Arant.
Jody Donald, Staff Attorney and Risk Management Director at Mississippi State Hospital came to speak.
The Health Law Society welcomed five attorney speakers: Joyce Hall from Watkins & Eager, Dinetia Newman from Bradley Arant, Scott Newton from Baker Donelson, Jackson Newsome from UMMC, and Chad Russell from Southern Farm Bureau.
Laura Moore from UMMC came to speak. Three MC Law students also spoke: Curtis Anders, Conner Reeves, and Andres Wallace.