AHLA Fundamentals of Behavioral Health Care Law, First Edition (AHLA Members)

Peter J. Domas (Editor) and Russell A. Kolsrud (Editor)

Publisher : American Health Lawyers Association

AHLA Fundamentals of Behavioral Health Care Law, First Edition (AHLA Members)

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  • Format: Hardbound, 274 pages, Print Book ISBN: 9781522104254


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  • Format: Electronic book: epub ISBN: 9781522104278


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  • Format: Electronic book: mobi ISBN: 9781522104278


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Table of Contents Author/Contributors

1  Terminology

2  Behavioral Health Care Jurisprudence

3  Capacity and Consent to Treatment

4  Danger to Self or Others

5  Privacy, Security and HIPAA

6  Integrating Behavioral Health and Physical Medicine

7  Ethical Considerations for Behavioral Health Care Professionals

Appendix A Mental Health Statutes
Appendix B Civil Commitment Statutes
Table of Statutes
Table of Cases

About the Author

Peter J. Domas

Peter J. Domas (Editor) is Of Counsel at Dickinson Wright. Peter's practice is devoted to representing clients in the health care industry, and assisting them in navigating the complex statutory and regulatory environment unique to health care corporate, transactional, and litigation matters. Peter also counsels clients on the development and maintenance of effective internal compliance programs with a special focus on federal and state fraud and abuse laws, reimbursement regulations, and HIPAA. Prior to entering the practice of law, Peter directed the Midwest's contract compliance audit operations for a national service company whose clients include numerous national, local and government insurance providers. Peter is also a Certified Public Accountant in both Michigan and Illinois.

Russell A. Kolsrud

Russell A. Kolsrud (Chapter 2, Behavioral Health Jurisprudence, and Editor) co-chairs Dickinson Wright's Behavioral Health Care Practice Group along with his partner Gregory W. Moore and is a senior trial lawyer for clients with commercial disputes, health care controversies, transaction disagreements and disputes with government regulatory and licensing agencies. Since 1982, 80% of his practice involved representation of clients in the health care industry. He represents behavioral health care providers, physician groups, third party administrators, and he defends psychiatric malpractice claims. Russ is also involved in the implementation of strategies to integrate medical and behavioral health care, electronic medical record exchanges and handle Medicaid and Medicare claims denials and procurement issues.

In January 2009, Russ along with Gregory Moore created a Behavioral Health Care Law focused Practice Group, the first of its kind in a national law firm. With more than 50 years of combined experience, Russ and Greg continue to guide their behavioral health care clients through the highly nuanced Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. They have been and continue to be leaders in educating and counseling clients as Parity and the integration of behavioral health and physical health take center stage.

Jena M. Grady

Jena M. Grady (Chapter 3, Capacity and Consent to Treatment) is an associate in Dickinson Wright's Health Care and Behavioral Health Care Practice Groups specializing in health care regulatory and compliance matters. Her work focuses on fraud and abuse issues, health information technology, and licensing. She also advises clients on patient privacy and security issues under HIPAA, 42 CFR Part 2, and state privacy laws and regulations. Prior to law school, Jena worked at the Arizona Department of Health Services Division of Behavioral Health Services.

Alexandra A. Hall

Alexandra A. Hall (Chapter 7, Ethical Considerations for Behavioral Health Care Professionals) is an associate in Dickinson Wright's Health Care and Behavioral Health Care Practice Groups. Alexandra practices in all areas of health care law and represents a variety of behavioral health professionals and organizations. She advises clients on issues ranging from reimbursement, state and federal fraud and abuse laws, and HIPAA. Alexandra assists a wide range of health care providers with complex statutory and regulatory issues, including the establishment of internal quality assurance and compliance plans.

Gregory W. Moore

Gregory W. Moore (Chapter 6, Integrating Behavioral Health and Physical Medicine) co-chairs Dickinson Wright's Behavioral Health Care Practice Group along with his partner Russell A. Kolsrud. Greg has been a practicing health care attorney since 1991. During his entire career, he has focused on representing and counseling providers of all types and sizes including: behavioral health care companies, facilities and networks, behavioral health care information networks, medical groups, federally-qualified health centers, trade associations, nonprofit and for profit hospitals, international and domestic medical tourism companies. He has been recognized as a thought leader and innovator when it comes to the integration of behavioral and physical health care. With 25 years of experience serving clients in the industry, his practice covers the full spectrum of regulatory, transactional and litigation services.

Paige M. Steffen

Paige M. Steffen (Chapter 4, Danger to Self or Others) is an Associate in Clark Hill PLC's Insurance & Reinsurance Practice Group. She focuses her practice in primary excess insurance and reinsurance. She represents both international and domestic insurers and reinsurers on issues related to liability coverage, claim management, and pre-underwriting risk assessment with respect to various health care providers. She graduated magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago School of Law with a Health Law Certificate.

Serene K. Zeni

Serene K. Zeni (Chapter 6, Integrating Behavioral Health and Physical Medicine) is Of Counsel at Dickinson Wright. She is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan with key knowledge in administrative matters, licensure, and government investigations. Serene advises health professionals and health care organizations on the interpretation and application of health care laws and regulation. She has represented stakeholders in the insurance industry to develop plans in compliance with mental health parity laws and has assisted insurance companies in auditing their programs to ensure compliance. Serene designs mechanisms for behavioral health care integration in physical medicine practices in addition to providing guidance on new sources of revenue through entrepreneurial models of care delivery such as telemedicine, concierge care, app and technology development and medical tourism.

Serene was named a Super Lawyer Rising Star and recognized by Crain's as a Top Lawyer and Top Woman Lawyer in 2016. Serene serves as the Executive Secretary for the American Muslim Health Professional organization. She is also a member of the American Health Lawyers Association, and the Health Law Section and the Information Technology Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan, her J.D. from Wayne State University Law School, and her LL.M. in Health Law and Policy from Loyola University School of Law.


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Beginning in the mid-1950s, the approach to addressing serious behavioral health disorders began to shift from institutionalizing those afflicted to making community based outpatient treatment available. By the 1960s treatment policy had shifted to this new model to promote integrating people with mental illnesses into their communities. By 1970 community support programs began to appear with an emphasis on a fully continuous system of care that would serve the comprehensive needs of the seriously mentally ill. However, integrating behavioral and physical health requires that the applicable jurisprudence evolve at the same pace, and this faces resistance. Despite state legislatures' policy decisions that persons with mental illness can live in our society as functioning individuals, our jurisprudence of tort and injury law is often an impediment to that goal. This publication will serve as an introduction to the complex questions posed by behavioral health and the law.

Coverage includes:

      •  Change from institutionalization to community based outpatient system of care
      •  Legal duty owed by behavioral health providers to others
      •  Hindsight bias and its effect on behavioral health jurisprudence
      •  Criteria for when someone can be subjected to involuntary psychiatric treatment
      •  The impact of patient's illness on the rules that govern treatment records
      •  Integration of behavioral health with physical medical issues
      •  Includes behavioral health terminology, acronyms, abbreviations, and a list of governmental entities involved in behavioral health
      •  State charts on civil commitment, duty to ward, and confidentiality of mental health records