OKC Law Firm Pioneers Health Newsletter
Titus, Nancy Raiden, THE JOURNAL RECORD
By Nancy Raiden Titus
Journal Record Staff Reporter
Ten years ago when health law was just beginning to develop into the specialty that it is today, the Oklahoma City law firm of Miller, Dollarhide, Dawson Shaw began a legal newsletter for those in the health professions.
The "Health Law Forum" started out as a public relations tool to capitalize on the firm's 25 years of experience in representing Oklahoma hospitals. Through the years, it has become more meaty, providing case scenarios and impact statements on legal developments in health law.
Articles from the quarterly publication are often reprinted in legal and medical journals on the local, state and national level. Attorneys with the firm have even been asked to expand on the subjects to provide more detail appropriate to the other publication's audience.
The first issue of "Health Law Forum," published in the fall of 1984, was sent out to about 400 people. Today it goes out to more than 6,000 people in 23 states.
Its primary audience includes health care providers and administrators of hospitals, nursing homes or clinics, though it also has wide distribution within the legal community. Most of its readers have specifically requested the free newsletter.
"It started as a public relations tool," said Charles L. Dollarhide II, one of the members of the firm who was involved when the publication began. "We wanted the newsletter and other things we did to establish us in the business community, and this firm was being identified with health law.
"It's more than that now. It serves the legal community as well. We send a copy to all Oklahoma and many Tulsa county lawyers plus judges and district judges."
At first "Health Law Forum" was written by a public relations consultant, but shortly after its beginning, a lawyer joined the firm who wanted to work exclusively in health law. He became the editor and selected most of the articles for the publication.
Today's editors are Laura Cross, a registered nurse for more than 20 years before she obtained her law degree, and James Scimeca, a lawyer with a journalism background.
The writing style of the publication has evolved over the years. The original issue featured short paragraphs describing health law issues. Later, Forum articles came more to resemble legal briefs.
"We try to be more journalistic now," Dollarhide said. "We use lawyers to write them, and we have to edit to make it user-friendly."
The latest issue of the six-page newsletter features six court cases that affect the health industry. …