Around the nation: Georgetown launches innovative medical-legal partnership

Bite-sized hospital and health industry news

  • Montana: After 20 years serving as CEO of Billings Clinic, Nicholas Wolter plans to retire in January. Under Wolter's leadership, the health system has grown rapidly and is now one of the largest employers in the state. Wolters has served as a board member of the American Hospital Association and a two-term commissioner of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, among other positions. In October, Wolter told the Billing's Gazette that he "never thought about what I do as business." He explained, "It's a profession. It's taking care of people who need health care." CMO Randall Gibb will serve as interim CMO following Wolter's departure (Castellucci, Modern Healthcare, 11/28; Billings Clinic release, 11/25; Vaidya, Becker's Hospital Review, 11/28; Billings Gazette, 11/25).

  • Ohio: Advocates in the state are pushing for a so-called "recovery high school" to help adolescents who are grappling with drug misuse. Sarah Nerad, director of recovery for the Ohio State University's Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery, said such schools "allow [students] to have a safe, nurturing, supportive environment where they can be who they are." Nerad explained that recovery schools have specialized staff and provide students with a sense of community by connecting them with fellow students who are struggling with similar issues. About 45 recovery high schools have been established or are being planned nationwide, according to Association of Recovery Schools. Ohio already has at least three such schools—but Nerad and others are lobbying for more. A spokesman for the state Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services said there is interest in opening more recovery schools but that discussions are preliminary (Viviano, Columbus Dispatch, 11/28).

  • Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University has launched the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance, a collaboration between the university's medical school and law school. The program brings together students, faculty, and clinicians to serve disadvantaged D.C.-area residents. The goal is to provide more effective health care by also treating social determinants of health, such as housing security, food security, and access to social services. Eileen Moore, associate dean for community education and advocacy at Georgetown University School of Medicine, said many of her patients were grappling with issues related to their health and could benefit from legal assistance. "I can't stress enough how wonderful it will be to be able to provide pro bono legal assistance to these patients," she said (Twombly, Georgetown University release, 11/22).

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