Professor Dayna Matthew was this year’s Clark Lecture guest speaker. Matthew is the associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law at the University of Colorado-Boulder and specializes in evidence, health law. Her resume extends to the universities of Kentucky and Virginia instructing tort courses that focused on civil procedure, products liability and public health sections that were primarily devoted to bioethics and medical malpractice procedures. Professor Matthew has written articles on health and antitrust law topics which have appeared in the Virginia Law Review, Houston Law Review and the Wake Forest Law Review the Indiana Law Journal, the Kentucky Law Journal and the St. Louis University Law Journal, as well as the American Journal of Law and Medicine according to her biography on the University of Colorado Law site. Matthew has also written a number of articles to educate people about her plans to regulate America’s discriminatory health care system. This plan seeks to provide minority groups, in many cases underrepresented African-American populations, within the health care system by providing the patient with quality care at an affordable price.
The presentation outline consisted of the implementation of the fiduciary medicine policies. Fiduciary medicine is a way of combining law practices with health care policies to create a means for underrepresented groups to have the same access to quality health care as other non-minority groups. In some ways socialized medical practices have been the norm but this model suggests that regardless of socio-economic status and affordability of quality care, all Americans should have equally accessible treatment and prescriptions regardless of financial determinants. In Matthew’s model she addressed concerns for morality issues within the health care industry tackling the pharmaceutical and insurance providers and discussed the lack of awareness within these communities. Her model holds these institutions responsible for good faith attempts while serving these populations, the best efforts to provide skill applications and holding medical providers accountable for risk management concerns.
Additionally, Matthew stressed the importance of the trustee, beneficiary relationship as it relates to medical care.
The beneficiary is a legal term that is defined as the recipient of goods or services, and the trustee is the providing entity of that good, service or care. In this case, the trustee acts as the medical physician and the beneficiary is the patient, receiving the care.
“It is important to recall legal practices as it relates to health practices,” said Matthew. She also said, “We entrust our most valuable possessions with attorneys in legal issues, and we do the same as is relates to our health.”
Her methods seek to mirror the goals of the Hippocratic Oath, that practicing doctors adhere to during their tenure and recite during their white coat ceremony, which swears them into the medical profession as capable yet moral practitioners.
“Medical malpractice does not address discrimination,” said Matthew. Warren Rhem II, senior in agriculture business management asked Matthew about how patients could seek legal counsel pertaining to malpractice if unable to afford lawyer’s fees. Her response was merely advocating that we need to “put bad doctors out of business, we don’t want to preserve them.” She also pointed out that students need to become lawyers and reach back out into these communities and “become advocates.” When Marquis McCullough asked about the models ability to address insurance companies that deny claims, Matthew admitted that her “model falls short in that regard,” but she can fix it.
“The insurance industry is financially driven,” said Matthew. “The 46 million people that are working, in many cases still don’t have health care, and that’s a problem. Our government has an obligation to return these services to its country men and women. Annually, this event is held to honor the Dr. Lawrence Clark, a former associate provost and mathematics instructor of N.C. State. Dr. Clark was a 20-year tenure employee for the University and created the African-American Advisory committee. He was also instrumental in the development of the African American Cultural Center.
“It is always exciting to be presented with a new aspect of some topic that you had not previously thought about. Coincidently, I am taking business law so I was able to draw from her lecture some things we talk about in class. It gave me a better understanding of what she was speaking about, I may even want to be a lawyer now,” said Kadeem Myrick, junior in business management when asked about the importance of the lecture. Antoinette Russell, junior in communication-public relations said, “She made it very clear that there were several injustices in the medical system even in 2009 that people don’t always recognize because it is not as obvious as the racist practices were in the 60s and 70s. However, applying fiduciary law to the medical field is not the solution to the problem. Its goals were impractical and unacomplishable. I do admire the time and effort that went into her solution, and it is comforting to know that there are people working hard to ensure that my rights are protect you can make it sound better if you want.”