Should doctors be asked to report to health insurers when patients aren’t following their treatment plans? Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine – the top medical journal in the world – TU College of Law Associate Professor Matt Lamkin addresses workplace “wellness” programs that tie the cost of employees’ insurance to their health behaviors. Under these insurance plans, employees with chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure can see their insurance costs rise by thousands of dollars if they fail to follow their doctors’ instructions. Lamkin writes that although these programs seek to reduce health care costs by improving employees’ health – both of which are worthy goals – they can also come with hidden costs.
“Requiring physicians to report their patients’ noncompliance to insurers can threaten the trust that a productive doctor-patient relationship depends on,” Lamkin said. “If a patient knows that a negative report from her physician will cause her insurance costs to skyrocket, she may be less honest with her doctor about her health behaviors.”
Professor Lamkin joined The University of Tulsa College of Law in 2013. Prior to entering academia, he served as a policy advisor to the mayor of Indianapolis, an attorney at one of the world’s largest law firms and a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Law and the Biosciences.
You can read the article, “Physician as Double Agent: Conflicting Duties Arising from Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs,” at the New England Journal of Medicine.
With an undergraduate degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University, Melissa Revell knew she wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare industry. Her studies led her to the field of law and to The University of Tulsa.
As a third year law student, Revell is worked in Washington, D.C. as a legal extern for both the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA).
“I spent the last semester of law school externing in Washington, D.C.”
“Working in Washington, D.C., the last semester of law school has rounded out my perspective on health care, by allowing me to see health care from the vantage point of a federal administrative agency,” said Revell. “I’m excited to take what I’ve learned from these experiences back to Tulsa where I’ll be working after graduation.”
At the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Revell consults with and drafts opinions for administrative law judges on Medicare disputes. At AHLA, she writes articles on recent healthcare decisions, legislation and regulatory changes for the agency’s newsletter sent to its 14,000 members.
“I’ve observed how healthcare attorneys provide objective counsel with compassion.”
In the summer of her second year, Revell interned at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, conducting legal research and advising counsel of issues of informed consent, patient discharge and advance directives. “My experience at St. Jude greatly impacted me, as I learned first-hand how their positions require the attorneys to provide objective counsel, while approaching delicate issues with compassion.”
Revell first became passionate about health care in her undergraduate years when she shadowed several physicians, operated a breast cancer research lab and volunteered in a prenatal clinic.
“Melissa came to me early with the goal of securing an opportunity in Washington, D.C. in health law. She used her network from her internship at St. Jude to focus in on where she wanted to be. We worked together on a plan within the externship program that allowed her to get course credit for two placements concurrently. Through her own tenacity, she is getting double experience and exposure in her preferred practice area,” said Lauren Donald, assistant dean for experiential learning at TU Law.
Revell is joining McAfee & Taft in Tulsa as a healthcare attorney.
During her time at TU Law, Revell was selected as a William W. Means Professionalism Endowed Scholar and a Steele Scholar. She served as an articles research editor of the Tulsa Law Review in 2017-18 and as an associate editor in 2016-17. She also earned four CALI Excellence for the Future awards in Legal Writing II, Legal Writing III, Constitutional Law II and Insurance Law.
“One of my favorite things about TU Law is the high caliber of the professors and how vested they are in their students. I love living in Tulsa, and I believe that Tulsa is a perfect size legal market for a new attorney to begin his or her career,” said Revell. After graduation, Revell is joining the healthcare practice group at McAfee & Taft in Tulsa.
For more information on externships at The University of Tulsa College of Law, visit us online.