AGENDA NOW AVAILABLE: 2015 Annual Conference
Law, Religion, and Health in America

Saturday, May 09, 2015
Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East BC
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

Registration is now available online! Conference DescriptionReligion and medicine have historically gone hand in hand, but increasingly have come into…

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Health Law Workshop: Nadia Sawicki

Monday, March 09, 2015 5:00 PM
Health Law Workshops
Griswold Hall, Room 110
1525 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

Download the Presentation: "Modernizing Informed Consent: Expanding the Boundaries of Materiality" Nadia A. Sawicki is Associate Professor of Law at…

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Lots Of Seniors Are Overweight, But Few Use Free Counseling For It

NPR, February 23, 2015
by Sarah Varney

[...] To help the nation's 13 million obese seniors, theAffordable Care Act included a new Medicare benefit offering face-to-face weight-loss counseling in primary care doctors' offices. It is free to patients, with…

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Academic Fellow Rachel Sachs invited to present to Harvard Ethics Consortium

Petrie-Flom Center, January 2015

Petrie-Flom Academic Fellow Rachel E. Sachs was invited to present during January’s meeting of the Harvard Ethics Consortium, held at Harvard Medical School. The Ethics Consortium brings together medical professionals…

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Rural Doctor Launches Startup To Ease Pain Of Dying Patients

NPR, January 3, 2015
by April Dembosky

[...] By the time Fratkin leaves the Hoopa Valley, he's spent half a day with one patient. This is something the hospital in Eureka just couldn't afford to have him…

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Houston doctor sued for trading prescriptions for sex

Houston Chronicle, December 12, 2014
by St. John Barned-Smith, quoting I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)

[...] Legal experts who specialize in medical ethics said the allegations and actions captured on film were "egregious." Medical standards prohibit doctors from engaging in sexual relationships with patients. "This…

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Doctor Shortage Looming? Maybe Not

NPR, November 18, 2014
by Julie Rovner

The United States is facing a critical shortage of doctors that could seriously jeopardize the ability of a patient to get medical care in the coming years. Or, at least,…

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Training The Next Generation Of Doctors To Get LGBT Health Right

NPR, November 12, 2014
by Nancy Shute

If you're gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, odds are that you've had a doctor flinch or flounder through an appointment. The next generation of physicians needs to do…

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In the Hospital, a Bad Translation Can Destroy a Life

NPR, October 27, 2014
by Kristian Foden-Vencil

[...] Thirteen years ago, the state of Oregon recognized the problem and required doctors and hospitals to start using professional interpreters. The Affordable Care Act also has expanded the kinds…

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Family Doctors Push For A Bigger Piece Of The Health Care Pie

Kaiser Health News, October 24, 2014
by Lisa Gillespie

Family medicine doctors are joining forces to win a bigger role in health care – and be paid for it. Eight family-physician-related groups, including the American Academy of Family Physicians,…

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New Class of Abortion Providers Helps Expand Access in California

Los Angeles Times, October 23, 2014
by Lee Romney

[...] Although state legislatures across the country have passed laws in record numbers over the last four years setting restrictions on abortions — undermining Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme…

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Dallas Residents Still Trust Texas Health Presbyterian

The Atlantic, October 10, 2014
by Olga Khazan

[...] So why are people so sympathetic to a hospital that made an egregious—and possibly fatal—error involving a highly contagious virus? Whether deserved or not, medical workers are often crested…

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As Payments Database Debuts, Doctors Urge Caution

Kaiser Health News, October 1, 2014
by Shefali Luthra

A federal database unveiled Tuesday afternoon details 4.4 million payments from pharmaceutical and medical technology companies to doctors and teaching hospitals, sparking concerns that consumers might misinterpret the information. The Centers for…

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No Time To See The Doctor? Try A Virtual Visit

Kaiser Health News, September 16, 2014
by Anna Gorman

Patients looking for convenient medical appointments can now see UCLA Health System doctors using their cell phones, computers or tablets. It’s part of an ongoing effort at UCLA and elsewhere…

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Replacing an Ambulance with a Station Wagon

NPR, September 5, 2014
by Eric Whitney

[...] Several cities across the country are using paramedics as physician extenders, sending ambulance crews to do routine things like hospital follow-up visits in places where basic health care is…

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CVS Stores Stop Selling All Tobacco Products

New York Times, September 3, 2014
by Rachel Abrams

[...] The rebranding even comes with a new name: CVS Health. The decision to stop selling cigarettes is a strategic move as pharmacies across the country jockey for a piece…

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How Racism Creeps Into Medicine

The Atlantic, August 29, 2014
by Hamza Shaban

[...] Shaban: In the scientific community there’s this insurgent belief that political correctness is getting in the way of discovery. This argument holds that the question “Is race real?” is a…

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A Hotline for End-of-Life Care

The Atlantic, August 27, 2014
by Elana Gordon

[...] The goal is for patients to receive care in those final months that aligns with what the patient wants, even if that's the most aggressive treatment available. But it…

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When Patients Read What Their Doctors Write

NPR, August 17, 2014
by Leana Wen

[...] In fact, before the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law enacted in 1996, patients generally had to sue to see their records. HIPAA, as that mouthful is…

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In Ambitious Bid, Walmart Seeks Foothold in Primary Care Services

New York Times, August 7, 2014
by Rachel Abrams

Welcome to Walmart. The nurse will be right with you. Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, has spent years trying to turn some of its millions of customers into patients, offering…

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Hospital Agrees to Pay $190 Million Over Recording of Pelvic Exams

New York Times, July 21, 2014
by Trip Gabriel

The doctor wore an unusual pen around his neck. It was really a concealed camera, and for years he secretly recorded women at some of their most private moments, during…

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Race Is On to Profit From Rise of Urgent Care

New York Times, July 9, 2014
by Julie Cresswell

[...] But what is happening here is also playing out across the nation, as private equity investment firms, sensing opportunity, invest billions in urgent care and related businesses. Since 2008, these investors…

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Some Insurance Companies Ask Their Customers to Cross the Border for Care:

New Republic, July 7, 2014
by Adam Teicholz and I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director) and

Faculty Director I. Glenn Cohen has co-authored a new piece in New Republic on the practice adopted by some insurance companies of sending clients across the border for less expensive care. From…

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Fewer Women Are Having Labor Induced Early

NPR, June 18, 2014
by Katherine Hobson

There has been a major effort in the past several years to reduce the rate of early elective deliveries. Those are births that for no medical reason are hastened by inducing labor…

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Doctors pushed to reject role in executions

"The Rachel Maddow Show," MSNBC, June 17, 2014
by Rachel Maddow, interviewing I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)

Faculty Director I. Glenn Cohen appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss his recent opinion piece in JAMA, coauthored with Robert D. Truog and Mark A. Rockoff (both of Harvard Medical School), on “Physicians,…

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Direct-to-Patient Laboratory Test Reporting:

JAMA, June 16, 2014
by Michael J. Young, MPhil (Petrie-Flom Student Fellow); Ethan Scheinberg, BTL; Harold Bursztajn, MD

In February 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a landmark ruling allowing patients direct access to completed medical laboratory reports. The ruling took effect April 7, 2014,…

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When Doctors Need Advice, It Might Not Come From A Fellow Human

Kaiser Health News, June 2, 2014
by Daniela Hernandez

Long Island dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla knows well how to treat acne, burns and rashes. But when a patient came in with a potentially disfiguring case of bullous pemphigoid—a rare skin…

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Doctors assist in executions despite ethics rules

LA Times, May 21, 2014
by Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Seth Klamann, citing I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)

[...] A group of legal experts called the Death Penalty Committee of the Constitution Project recently recommended that doctors or other medical personnel supervise all medical aspects of executions, even…

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Patients Lose When Doctors Can’t Do Good Physical Exams

Kaiser Health News, May 20, 2014
by Sandra G. Boodman

Doctors at a Northern California hospital, concerned that a 40-year-old woman with sky-high blood pressure and confusion might have a blood clot, order a CT scan of her lungs. To…

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Harvard Clinical Bioethics Course

Harvard Clinical Bioethics Course
Harvard Medical School

Deadline: June 17, 2014

Petrie-Flom Executive Director Holly Fernandez Lynch will speak on Thursday, June 19, on "What Ethicists Should Know about the Law." For more details about the course, including registration information, please visit the full course description. …

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What Ethicists Should Know about the Law

Harvard Medical School, June 19, 2014
by Holly Fernandez Lynch (Executive Director)

On Thursday, June 19, Petrie-Flom Executive Director Holly Fernandez Lynch will speak on "What Ethicists Should Know about the Law" as part of Harvard Clinical Bioethics, a course led by Robert…

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Physicians, Medical Ethics, and Execution by Lethal Injection

JAMA, May 19, 2014
by Robert D. Truog, MD; I. Glenn Cohen, JD (Faculty Director); Mark A. Rockoff, MD

Petrie-Flom Faculty Director I. Glenn Cohen has coauthored a new opinion piece now available through JAMA. From the article: In an opinion dissenting from a Supreme Court decision to deny review in a…

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2014 Annual Conference:
Behavioral Economics, Law, and Health Policy

Saturday, May 03, 2014
Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East ABC
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

Couldn't join us in person at Harvard Law School? Join the conversation on Twitter using #BELHP2014! We also liveblogged the full event at Bill…

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Telemedicine Policy Draws Opposition From Patient Advocates, Health Care Providers

Kaiser Health News, May 2, 2014
by Lisa Gillespie

New guidelines issued by the Federation of State Medical Boards could have a chilling effect on the growth of telemedicine – especially in rural areas and among low-income patients, say some patient…

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With Medical Debt Rising, Some Doctors Push For Payment Upfront

NPR, April 25, 2014
by Jenny Gold

[...] Between 2008 and 2012, multispecialty practices saw their bad debt go up 14 percent, according to a survey by the Medical Group Management Association, a trade organization for doctor practices.…

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Measles Off To A Fast Start, As Cases Trend Up

NPR, April 24, 2014
by AP

NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials are worried about recent U.S. measles outbreaks that so far have caused more illnesses than at the same point of any year since 1996.…

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Rural Hospitals Face Tough Choices On Computerized Records

Kaiser Health News, April 24, 2014
by Eric Whitney

RED LODGE, Mont. -- One of the biggest challenges American hospitals face right now is adopting electronic medical records systems. It’s costing tens of billions of dollars, eating up tons…

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Free Drug Samples Prompt Skin Doctors To Prescribe Costlier Meds

NPR, April 16, 2014
by Michaeleen Doucleff

Every "free" sample comes with a price. Dermatologists who accept free tubes and bottles of brand-name drugs are likelier to prescribe expensive medications for acne than doctors who are prohibited…

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Doctors Overlook Lucrative Procedures When Naming Unwise Treatments

Kaiser Health News, April 14, 2014
by Jordan Rau

When America’s joint surgeons were challenged to come up with a list of unnecessary procedures in their field, their selections shared one thing: none significantly impacted their incomes. The American Academy…

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Refusals Cut Options After C-Sections

New York Times, April 14, 2014
by Dan Frosch

CASPER, Wyo. — When Marie Scott, a child-care worker turned stay-at-home mother, found out she was pregnant again last year, she knew she wanted a traditional birth. The cesarean section she’d had…

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Why Most Brazilian Women Get C-Sections

The Atlantic, April 14, 2014
by Olga Khazan

RECIFE, Brazil — When Ivana Borges learned she was pregnant, she told her obstetrician that she wanted a natural birth. Her mother had delivered five children without surgery or medication,…

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Doctors Shun Insurance, Offering Care for Cash

New York Times, April 10, 2014
by Alexa Ura

LAREDO, Tex. — For 12 hours a day, the waiting room at Dr. Gustavo Villarreal’s family practice is packed with patients who pay a flat $50 fee for the convenience…

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Burnt Out Primary Care Docs Are Voting With Their Feet

Kaiser Health News, April 1, 2014
by Roni Caryn Rabin

[...] Physician stress has always been a fact of life.  But anecdotal reports and studies suggest a significant increase in the level of discontent-especially among primary care doctors who serve…

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An Empirical Method for Materiality:

American Journal of Law and Medicine, Forthcoming, 2014
by Roy G. Spece Jr., David V. Yokum, Andrea-Gale Okoro, and Christopher T. Robertson (Petrie-Flom Affiliated Faculty; Former Petrie-Flom Academic Fellow)

Abstract: The law has long been concerned with the agency problems that arise when advisors, such as attorneys or physicians, put themselves in financial relationships that create conflicts of interest. If…

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As Full Disclosure Nears, Doctors’ Pay for Drug Talks Plummets

Pro Publica, March 3, 2014
by Charles Ornstein, Eric Sagara, and Ryann Grochowski Jones

Some of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies have slashed payments to health professionals for promotional speeches amid heightened public scrutiny of such spending, a new ProPublica analysis shows. Eli Lilly…

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New rule allows patients to get test results directly from labs, without doctors’ clearance

Washington Post, February 3, 2014
by Sandra Somashekar

Patients may obtain their test results directly from the laboratory that produced them, without having to go through their doctors, under regulations announced Monday by the Obama administration. The rule is…

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Silencing Many Hospital Alarms Leads To Better Health Care

NPR, January 27, 2014
by Richard Knox

Go into almost any hospital these days and you'll hear a constant stream of beeps and boops. To most people it sounds like medical Muzak. But to doctors and nurses,…

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‘Aid in Dying’ Ruled OK in New Mexico:

Time, January 13, 2014
by Maya Rhodan

A New Mexico district judge ruled on Monday that terminally ill patients who are mentally competent have a constitutional right to seek a physician’s assistance in ending their own lives. The decision…

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West Hartford Parents Back In Court In Custody Dispute With MA Authorities

The Hartford Courant, January 10, 2014
by William Weir

A custody dispute between Massachusetts and a West Hartfordfamily whose daughter is being held at Boston Children's Hospital returned to court Friday. Justina Pelletier, 15, has been at Boston Children's Hospital since February,…

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