A $500,000 lawsuit settlement will allow the university’s law school to provide medical and legal education to health care providers.
The funds are from a recently settled 2004 class action lawsuit, according to 1996 law school alumnus Rob Schmieder.
The lawsuit, which the university was not party to, alleged that two preferred provider networks reduced payments in connection with insurance in jury treatment claims. While the defendants, CNN Managed Care, Inc. and First Health Group Corp. denied the allegations.
A 2010 settlement in the Madison County case provided $1.25 million toward continuing medical education benefits and the settlement was affirmed in 2011, he said.
The university was selected to receive a significant portion of the class action suit, and these funds will be used to provide class members a free or low-cost continuing medical education, Schmieder said.
Schmeider, who is now a managing partner at SL Chapman LLC in St. Louis, said he believed the law school would be a great fit for the funds because of his own experiences at the school.
“During law school, I worked with Professor (W. Eugene) Basanta performing research pertaining to issues in both the medical and legal professions,” he said.
Alicia Ruiz, law school director of communications and outreach, said she is thrilled about the opportunities receiving such a substantial amount of money will create for the Center for Health Law and Policy.
“The law school is very happy to receive this award and to be recognized by an alumni of our program for our commitment in the field of health law and policy,” she said.
Ruiz said the law school fills a gap in this region for professionals in the health and legal field for continuing education, and the law school will be sure to put the funds to good use.
Basanta said the law school holds an annual institute that provides continuing education credits for lawyers and health care providers. This event is also sponsored by Southern Illinois Healthcare, and the money will help support it.
“This award is a great opportunity for us to grow our health law program,” Basanta said. “This will enable us to do some really great continuing education activities for lawyers, doctors, chiropractors and other health care professionals and providers.”
Other universities were also award recipients from the settlement. The other schools include the University of Chicago Center for Continuing Medical Education, American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and The Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society.
The money will be used by these schools to provide free or low-cost Continuing Medical Education programs, Basanta said.