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					Jill Bryant, BSN RN LNCC

   Volume 7, Issue 3
 September 1, 2007
                           HOUSTON NETWORK
                                G REATER H OUSTON T EXAS C HAPTER

                           B OARD APPR OVES LOWER FEE S
                           Keeping in mind the rapidly      attract and retain new
                           changing legal nurse market      leaders, member input is              MONTHLY
                           in Texas, President Bryant       needed to facilitate Board
                           organized a Board of             understanding. Responding
                           Directors Retreat in August,     to a recent member                   MEET INGS:
                           at her home on Galveston         request, your Board has             MEMBERS $15
                           Bay. During the Retreat,         taken the extraordinary step      NON-MEMBERS $20
                           officers discussed innovative    of approving new monthly
                           ways to help keep our            meeting fees, effective
                                                                                               Easy Online Payment
Inside This Issue:         Chapter active and vital.        immediately. Meeting
                           Although busy summer             regularly with professional            Free Parking
Life Care            2     schedules kept some board        peers can be your source for         Networking Meal
Planner as an              members away, all                a vast network of
Expert                     expressed support and            information. We invite you         Professional Speaker
                           respect for the consensus.       to share a meal with us and         One Type II CEU-
                           As our organization              learn, while taking                   TNA Approved
The Big Picture      3     continues to strive to           advantage of our new fees.
of Privacy

Member               4
                           The American Nurses             made landfall, the hospital      evacuate. The ANA and AMA
                           Association (ANA) and the       was surrounded by floodwater     believe that judgments
Chapter Board        5     American Medical Association    and stifling heat. With scarce   regarding these types of
Election Ahead
                           (AMA) are very concerned        food, no power and no            decisions and subsequent
                           about criminalizing patient     drinking water, patients and     actions would be more
Psychiatric          6     care decisions, especially      healthcare providers became      properly considered by the
Malpractice                those made during the           dehydrated and exhausted.        respective licensing boards:
                           chaotic aftermath of a          During the course of the         “Healthcare providers must
                           disaster, when medical          investigation, the nurses were   work together during
Sponsors            7-8    personnel and supplies are      given immunity in exchange       disasters, to make the best
                           severely compromised. In        for their testimony and          decisions that they can, given
Announcements        9
                           July 2006, two New Orleans      denied the charges. This         available resources. The
Editor’s Desk              nurses and a doctor were        spring, a Grand Jury decided     harmful repercussions of
                           arrested and charged with       not to pursue criminal           criminal prosecution will chill
                           second‐degree murder after a    charges against the doctor.      future responses of health
                           10‐month investigation into     Attorneys have said that the     practitioners during a major
                           post‐Katrina deaths at          healthcare professionals         disaster, for fear of having
                           Memorial Medical Center.        acted heroically, staying to     their best judgments second
                           Four days after the hurricane   treat patients rather than       guessed.”
Page 2                                                                                  Houston Network

                          THE LIFE CARE PLANNER AS AN EXPERT
                          GHC members were              of the case retain Life        medical care, durable
                          excited to visit with         Care Planners and the          medical equipment,
                          Connie Sunday at our June     CLCP may be required to        prescriptions, prosthesis,
                          Educational Meeting at        controvert the other’s         and wheelchair accessible
                          The Terrace. Mrs. Sunday      plan. Development of a         van. Attorneys should
                          is an attorney, Legal Nurse   LCP begins with an             contact the CLCP when
                          Consultant and Certified      interview conducted in the     major medical conditions
 Connie Sunday            Life Care Planner (CLCP),     client’s home, which is        alter or are newly
    MS RN JD              who has developed life        intended to reveal present     identified, such as a brain
Medical Litigation        care plans for a wide         barriers and to assess the     injury. The CLCP should
Mana gement, Inc.         range of physical injuries,   family’s reaction to the       also be apprised if the
                          in all areas of litigation.   injured person. Other          family situation changes,
Founding Member
  Past P resident         The Life Care Plan (LCP) is   experts in the LCP process     such as death of caregiver,
                          a definable treatment plan    may include Vocational         loss of housing or divorce.
                          for current and future        Specialists, Case Managers     If the injured person has
                          needs with associated         and Forensic Economists.       no income, a case
                          costs, for individuals who    Each expert provides           manager may be utilized.
                          have experienced              information within their       Attorneys discuss updates
                          catastrophic injury or        expertise and area of          to the plan with the CLCP
                          chronic health problems.      practice. Rapport is           prior to deposition,
                          Birth injuries, pain          developed with the             mediation or trial. LCP
                          management and mental         client’s treating physicians   development commands at
                          illness are examples of       to aid in communication        least 4‐6 weeks depending
                          those who warrant a           and to avoid conflicts.        on the complexity of the
                          treatment plan that covers    Determinations of costs        case and number of
                          their lifespan. Both sides    are made for future            doctors involved.

                          Looking ahead to the          and the nation. This           prime marketing event,
  Complimentary           upcoming Texas Trial          year the Conference will       so make your reservation
 Exhibit Resources        Lawyers Association           be held at the historic        with us today! Exhibitor
                          Annual Conference,            Driskill Hotel on Austin's     fees will be courtesy of
 Registration Fees
   Courtesy of
                          please schedule a             famous 6th Street. The         National AALNC and GHC,
    AALNCGHC              reminder for November         networking continues           with a nominal fee to
                          28th and 29th, 2007.          after hours as attendees       participating Chapter
 Nominal Member           The TTLA Annual               have an opportunity to         members. Exhibit
 Participation Fee
                          Conference is a popular       socialize and explore          resources are also
      Contact:            event for sponsors, who       Austin’s famous nightlife.     provided, facilitating
Connie Fletcher‐Powell
   or Donna Miller
                          have significant access to    The GHC Board of               maximum exposure for
admin@aalnc‐   leading trial lawyers         Directors is busy              our organization and
                          from around the state         organizing access to this      members.
  Volume 7, Issue 3                                                                      Page 3 

Longtime GHC member         Mrs. Couch has developed     tort product liability,
Wilma J. Couch is           an in‐depth                  pharmaceutical
founder and CEO of Med‐     understanding of how the     litigation, Medicare and
Expertise, LLC, a medical   healthcare system            Medicaid compliance
litigation support          interfaces within the        issues, Workers’
company assisting           legal arena. She has         Compensation, private
attorneys nationwide.       hired and trained staff      insurance issues,
Mrs. Couch’s professional   members for physicians       professional liability and   Wilma Couch BSN RN
nursing career has          and functions as a           personal injury. Wilma
                                                                                      Melissa Couch BA BBA
spanned 30+ years with      mentor and coach for         has been married to
skills developed as an      many Texas Legal Nurse       Charles Couch, MD,
administrator, practice     Consultants. Her             retired, for 50 years and
management consultant,      daughter Melissa Couch,      they have four grown
educator and Legal Nurse    serves as President of       children. In June, Dr.
Consultant. With her        Med‐Expertise, LLC.          and Mrs. Couch proudly
vast clinical and           Specialties include          announced the arrival of
management experience,      medical analysis of mass     their first grandchild.

The Health Insurance        providers.” The following    restrict legitimate,
Portability and             may help to shine a bit of   appropriate disclosure
Accountability Act          light into the darkness of   for treatment, payment,
(HIPAA) contains federal    healthcare information       or operation purposes,             According to the
privacy standards to        privacy policy: HIPAA        and most disclosures are
                                                                                            US Department
protect patients' medical   was not intended to          for those purposes.
records and other health    endanger care or prevent     Are you seeing the big                of Health &
information. Since HIPAA    significant others from      picture? Professional              Human Services
became effective in April   learning about their loved   nursing is based upon
2003, it has caused some    ones. HIPAA does permit      patient advocacy and
unease among those          patient information to be    our oath to engender                Enforcement),
striving to comply with     shared without the           care. Ethically, we are                 no civil
these complex               written approval of the      obligated to examine                penalties have
regulations. The Health     patient, in the context of   our motivation and
Privacy Project at          treatment, particularly in   justification for                  been levied for
Georgetown University,      an emergency situation.      communicating private                violations of
has been monitoring         HIPAA was not intended       information. Any                    HIPAA for the
HIPAA’s implementation,     to prevent doctors,          disclosure must be
and has reported a          hospitals and other                                             past four years
                                                         performed carefully,
common problem:             healthcare entities from     with documentation of
“Misunderstanding and       providing information        the rationale. HIPAA was
fear of noncompliance       about patients to other      never intended to               Healthcare privacy is a
has resulted in             treating physicians          replace our common           rapidly changing field of law,
                                                                                      and this article should not be
healthcare providers        without authorization        sense, professional          used as a substitute for legal
withholding information     from the patient. In         experience, and good            or other expert advice
between medical             short, HIPAA does not        judgment!
Page 4                                                                                Houston Network

                            Lois Vice, RN LNCC

                        As a representative of         Director of the American      Further discussion ensued
                        Greater Houston Texas          Association of Nurse          regarding strategic
                        Chapter of AALNC, it was       Anesthetists, shared with     thinking and planning, as
                        with pleasure and              the attendees the             well as identifying
                        excitement that I attended     importance of nursing         alliances for organizational
Lois Vice, RN LNCC
  President-Elect       the Nursing Alliance           associations within our       success. Last, but by no
                        Leadership Academy in          profession and society, as    means least, was the
                        Louisville, Kentucky, in       well as trends that are       important topic of
     “NALA is a         late August.                   shaping and affecting us as   developing future leaders.
      program           Topics presented during        volunteers. I received        I am not getting any
    designed for        the Saturday and Sunday        additional information        younger and I desperately
  emerging board        meetings focused on areas      about my role on the          want to help develop and
    leaders. The        that will, in my               Board of Directors and will   leave in place the younger
 program teaches        estimation, make our           hopefully expand my           leader that will be
 leadership skills      Chapter a stronger and         knowledge to help with        stronger than I ever
 to volunteers, to      more vibrant volunteer         optimization and              dreamed I could be.
   increase their       team. There were               development of the GHC        Thank you GHC Board of
      ability to
                        discussions on setting a       Board. Stewardship was        Directors, for providing
                        vision for the high            also explored and I           the means for me to
                        performance association.       recognize that my area of     attend this educational
                        Jeff Beutler, Executive        weakness is finance!          conference.

              GHC member Susan Mellott has been            Charlotte E. Lynn, entrepreneur,
                invited to speak at the 2008 AALNC         GHC member and writer for
                National Educational Conference in         Houston Network, earned
               Tampa, Florida. Her submission was          certification from the American
               reviewed by AALNC and chosen from           Legal Nurse Consultant Certification
                    among multiple applicants. The         Board (ALNCCB) in June 2007. She
Susan Mellott
                       winning presentation will be        is now entitled to use the            Charlotte Lynn
PhD RN CPHQ          “Joint Commission Update for          credential “LNCC” (Legal Nurse        BSN RN CLCP
FNAHQ                    Legal Nurse Consultants.”         Consultant, Certified) along with               LNCC
                     Mrs. Mellott is Chief Executive       her academic degree, professional
          Officer of Mellott & Associates, a private       licensure credentials, and Life Care Planning
            consulting firm. She serves as Adjunct         certification. Mrs. Lynn is co‐founder and
           Professor at Texas Women’s University,          Chief Operating Officer of The Alliance Med
     teaching core didactic and clinical courses for       Legal Group, a litigation support firm offering
            the Nursing Administration/Healthcare          Life Care Planning, medical costs projections,
          Administration Masters Nursing program.          and medical coding services. With over 20
        Susan brings 17 years of healthcare quality        years of clinical and management experience,
       experience to our organization, along with 3        Mrs. Lynn has been a Legal Nurse Consultant
                 years as a Legal Nurse Consultant.        for 8 years.
  Volume 7, Issue 3                                                                            Page 5

The GHC Board of Directors     sixty days before the          President: Principle
                                                              executive officer presiding
has supervision, control       Annual Meeting. The            over all Chapter and
and direction of the affairs   President, President‐Elect     Executive Committee
of the Chapter, determines     and Past President serve       meetings; Appoints every
                                                              committee chair and is an
its policies or changes        one term of one year in        ex-officio member of every
therein within the limits of   each of these offices.         committee, except the
the Bylaws, actively           President‐Elect shall have     Nominating Committee.
                                                              President-Elect: Learns
prosecutes its purposes        served on the Board within     duties of President,
and has discretion in the      the last three years, and is   performs duties delegated,        “A successful
disbursement of funds.         selected by a majority of      performs duties in absence
                                                                                                  GHC Board
                                                              of President and succeeds
If you are an active GHC       the Board of Directors from    the President                      Member will
member in good standing,       a slate of candidates          Secretary: Custodian of
for more than one year, we     presented by the               records and member               always put the
                                                              information. Records all
invite you to become a         Nominating Committee.          proceedings of the Chapter         organization
candidate in our upcoming      No one may be elected          and duly provides notices
                                                              applicable by law and By-                first,
2008 Board of Directors        more than two consecutive
Election! Board members        terms as Secretary or                                              disengaging
                                                              Treasurer: Principal financial
should be enthusiastic,        Treasurer. Directors‐at‐       officer responsible for the       from personal
                                                              maintenance of adequate
open to change, able to        Large serve a two‐year
                                                              books of account for the         perspectives and
approach decision making       term of office, with           Chapter; has charge of all
in a competent manner,         alternating years of           funds and securities,            interests, to act
                                                              depositing all monies in the
and have a sense of humor.     election so that two                                            for the common
                                                              name of the Chapter
The GHC Board of Directors     Directors change every         Past President: Primarily               good”
consists of President,         year. Secretary, Treasurer     serves in an advisory
                                                              capacity and is a voting
President‐Elect, Secretary,    and Directors‐at‐Large are
                                                              member of the Board
Treasurer, Past President      presented by the               Nominating Committee:
and four Directors‐at‐         Nominating Committee and       Two Board members and
                                                              two other members elected
Large. Elections are held      are elected by a majority
                                                              by the membership who
every year by ballot of the    of a quorum of the Active      serve for one year.
Active Members, at least       Members.                       Members shall not be
                                                              nominated for office. 

                                                                                                 YOU DON’T KNOW 
                                                                                                 WHAT YOU DON’T 
   “Unlike many certificate programs,           Association of Legal Nurse Consultants               KNOW ... 
   the LNCC program is not intended to          Certification Board. Successful
                                                                                               FOR MEDICAL CASES, 
   teach individuals how to become Legal        completion of the LNCC exam requires           YOU NEED THE LNCC® 
   Nurse Consultants. Rather, it is             finely tuned critical thinking skills          For more information about 
   practice‐based and designed to               within the context of a dual arena,               LNCC® certification: 
   measure the application of                   accompanied by optimum time
                                                                                                   To find a Legal Nurse 
   "knowledge‐in‐use" ‐ skills developed        management strategies. “LNCC” is                 Consultant in your area: 
   by those with real‐life experience in        the only Legal Nurse Consulting        

   this role.” The LNCC exam is                 specialty recognized by the American
   administered by the American                 Board of Nursing Specialties.
 Page 6                                                                                   Houston Network

                           The sun was hot, but          psychotherapy, negligent        difficult to prove that the
                           members stayed cool at        supervision, failure to         actual harm was caused
                           The Terrace on August         prevent harm, lack of           by the breach of duty.
                           15th as we gathered for       informed consent and            Or, there may have been
                           supper and networking.        abandonment.                    other factors involved,
                           We all came to meet           To prevail in a                 which were outside of
                           with local defense            psychiatric malpractice         the psychiatrist's control.
  Mary K. Evans, JD
   Luccia & Evans          attorney Marikay Evans,       suit, plaintiffs must prove     Proactive solutions go a
                           who has specialized in        that the doctor owed a          long way toward helping
                           healthcare litigation for     duty to the patient; that       psychiatric clinicians
                           the past 20 years. Mrs.       the care fell below the         avoid the courtroom.
                           Evans, who has defended       standard of care, and as        Precautions include
    End of An Error:       psychiatrists in              a result of the injury, the     identification of high‐risk
   Psychiatric Legal
  Scandals of the ‘90s     malpractice actions and       plaintiff suffered injury       patients, establishment
                           has argued before the         or death. The legal term        of rapport, respect and
   Duty to Warn vs.
    Duty to Protect
                           Texas Supreme Court,          for a link between              empathy, avoidance of
                           shared her experiences        negligence and injury is        boundary violations and
   The Challenges of
                           with the group. Common        "proximate cause", and is       abandonment,
     Split Therapy
                           causes of action against      the most difficult              competent treatment,
     Effects of Tort       psychiatrists include
    Reform in Texas
                                                         element to prove. There         management of patient
                           improper treatment,           may be cases where the          resistance, and
  “Proof Now or Pay        negligent use of              psychiatrist breaches           anticipation of
                           medication, negligent         duty and actual harm is         evidentiary use of the
                           application of                suffered, but it is             patient chart.

                           NURSE PRACTICE ACT (NPA) AMENDED
                           Effective September 1,        (regarding the NPA and          Texas nursing programs, a
                           2007, the Texas Board of      Board rules that regulate the   plan must be developed for
                           Nurse Examiners will enact    education and practice of       the creation of innovative
                           changes resulting from the    nursing in Texas). Diploma      nursing education models.
                           recent passage of HB 2426.    programs completed on or        Guidelines and/or rule
                           The licensing agency’s name   after December 31, 2014,        amendments must be
                           will henceforth be known as   must entitle a licensure        developed to explain the
   Read HB 2426            the “Texas Board of           candidate to receive a          consequences to licensure   Nursing”. Additional          degree upon successful          for different types of
                           mandates include the          completion of the remaining     criminal convictions. To
                           following: Effective          requirements for a degree,      read the full impact of the
                           September 1, 2008, future     from a public or private        passage of HB 2426, please
                           nurses, as part of initial    institution of higher           refer to the July 2007 issue
                           licensure, must pass a        learning. To promote            of Texas Board of Nursing
                           jurisprudence exam            increased enrollment in         Bulletin.
Page 7                                                                                        Houston Network

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                                                                w it h Lois Vic e

Volume 7,7, Issue 3 
Volume Issue 3                                                                                Page 8

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                                                          Nurture Chapter Growth
                                                     Reflect          Connect             Renew
    To enhance your competency and
professional success, AALNC‐GHC provides
                                                              GHC Educational Meeting
  educational scholarships to active
                                                                   September 19, 2007
  members. The Board of Dire ctors
  reviews strategy f or scholarships to
                                                         The Terrace at West University ‐ 5:30 p.m.
ensure that we targe t me mbers who are destined
  to become leaders in Legal Nurse Consulting.                                Featuring:
      Contact Scholarship Chair , Lois Vice:
                                                                Helen Schilling, M.D.
                                                         Clinical Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine

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                                               MISSION STATEMENT
     GREATER                                   Th e American Associati on of Legal Nurse C onsultants (AALNC ) is
  HOUSTON TEXAS                                a   n onprofit   organizati on     dedicated  to    the professional
                                               enhancement of registered nu rses practicing in a consult ing
     CHAPTER                                   capacity in the legal field.         We are the onl y professional
                                               organizat ion that is devoted to m eeting the speci fic ne eds of
   2726 Bissonnet,                             nu rses working in the Greate r Houston area.           Th e Greate r
      #240113                                  Houst on Texas Chapter hosts month ly educationa l meet ings and
   Houston, Texas                              an annual con ference, which provides continu ing education
                                               cred it and an opp ortun ity t o network with othe r members.

                                              2007 BOARD OF DIRE CTORS
                                                     President: Jill Bryant, BSN RN LNCC
                                                    President‐Elect: Lois J. Vice, RN LNCC
                                                 Past President: Deborah Hafernick, RN LNCC
   W E L C O M E
                                                      Treasurer: Linda Desserre, BSN RN
   New Member:
                                                     Secretary: Joanne Gongora, MSN RN
                                                 Director‐At‐Large: Dawn Nickelson, RN LNCC
 Ann ett e Fa rl ey o f
                                                Director‐At‐Large: Donna Miller, BSN RN LNCC
 CCI Confi dential
                                           Director‐At‐Large: Connie Fletcher‐Powell, MN RN LNCC
 Communi cations                                Director‐At‐Large: Cynthia McCarthy, BSN RN
Int ernational, LTD                                    Historian: René Bynum, BSN RN

                               T HE EDITOR’ S DE SK                           Dawn Nickelson RN LNCC
    Membership                 The Editor of Houston           are an enjoyable exercise,
     B enefits:                Network is responsible for      with great networking and
                               all aspects of publication      educational benefits.
                               associated with                 Valuable traits for the
                                                                                                      Houston Network is
                               maintaining our quarterly       volunteer include                   published quarterly by
                               newsletter as an                creativity, curiosity and a              AALNC-GHC as an
                                                                                              educational and information
                               information resource for        broad range of knowledge,     service to members and may
                                                                                                      be circulated freely.
                               Chapter members.                self‐motivation and
   Marketplace Visibility      Newsletters compete             perseverance. If you                     You Are Invited To
                                                                                                Participate In Publication!
                               against a lot of distractions   enjoy writing, photography      Our success depends upon
 Networking Opportunities                                                                    the cooperation of members;
                               for the reader’s attention,     and/or designing, I invite     W e provide the means; you
                                                                                                   provide the substance!
 Educational Presentations     so it’s important that we       you to share your talent
                               consistently add value to       with the Publishing           T o submit items for inc lusion
                                                                                              in the December 2007 issue,
Continuing Education Credit    our publication with            Committee. Does your                          e-mail entries
                                                                                                     (to 350 words or less)
 Reduced Conference Rates
                               member input. With your         strength lie in sales             by November 15, 2007 to:
                               effort, support, and            instead? GHC can also
Expert Witness Opportunities   ingenuity, Houston              highlight your expertise       W e welc ome comments and
                               Network can remain              with our Marketing/            suggestions, or notification
Referrals and Collaboration                                                                      about errors that warrant
                               pertinent and interesting.      Publicity/Web Committee                          c orrection.

Peer Support and Mentoring     Organizational newsletters      activities.

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