Attorney taking stock of health care changes

 By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News
Important aspects of health care are playing out in the business world – and attorney Michael James is in the thick of it. 
“The health care industry was the strongest growth industry we saw during the recession and will continue to grow as baby boomers age and components of health care reform continue to evolve,” he says. “Things like the Affordable Care Act have created new business opportunities and it’s very exciting to work with some of those businesses. The ACA has also impacted every single business in America as they prepare to address changes associated with health insurance reform.”

Working with small and large employers on the ACA has been fulfilling and interesting for James, a senior health care and business attorney with Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap in Lansing and Detroit, who combines his experience as a litigator, judicial officer, mediator, and entrepreneur to develop solutions for clients. 
“Every business has unique issues they face and there is no one answer that works for every business. It’s about helping companies navigate through the changes and coming up with a strategy that fits with their culture and mission.” 

Many aspects to health care law have business issues and principles woven into their fabric, he notes. 
“People often come to me with health care ventures and may have received really great business advice, but they need to understand that the health care regulations governing the venture may not allow them to proceed the way they planned. Unfortunately, sometimes they've already begun the venture and we need to go back and revisit it.”

James has worked extensively with physicians, health systems, and other providers and suppliers to understand the complexities of health care reform and changes in reimbursement models. 
“The business of health care is changing, the landscape is shifting and my goal is to help my clients achieve success with coordination of care through integration models, while leveraging changes in reimbursement structures,” he says. “There has been a lot of change in the last couple of years and more is certainly to come.”

James also assists businesses in other fields with everyday operations. Social media and copyrights have become a big issue. 
“Pinterest is a really fascinating tool out there—everybody ‘pins’ their pictures and don’t realize that by doing that, they technically could be committing a copyright violation,” he explains. 

While the average person is unlikely to see enforcement, if a marketer for a major brand pins pictures as part of a social media campaign, the owner of the image may balk at their images being used without financial compensation. 
“It’s set in a different context – we as individuals use it and it’s fun, great for wedding planning, and holiday gift ideas,” he says. “But, when you start looking at it from a business perspective, whether you’re running a small boutique wedding shop or a Fortune 100 company, you need to think about the images you’re using. Pinning a copyrighted image may end up also pinning your name to a lawsuit.”  
As technological capabilities continue to evolve, more of these issues will come to light, and businesses will need to make sure their practices are compliant, he notes.
Growing up in a family of attorneys, James always found the legal field to be interesting, especially the intertwining of law and business. 
His goal throughout this education journey was to create a well-rounded background. 
James earned his undergrad degree in history and political science from the University of Michigan, before attending the University of Miami School of Law, and clerking in the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  He went on to earn an MBA in Human Resources, Leadership and Change Management from Michigan State University. 
“History and political science allowed me to perfect my research and writing abilities, the law helped me to think critically and understand the environment my clients operate in and the business training has helped me understand my clients’ businesses and approach their challenges from their point-of-view,” he notes.
While a U-M undergrad, he attended Trinity College in Dublin – and has since returned six times to the Emerald Isle.  
“The Michigan program balanced education with life experiences that deeply impacted me,” he says. “I had a phenomenal experience.”
After completing his MBA program, the Flint native hung out his solo shingle in that city. 
“Flint has a long and rich history,” he says. “It’s currently going through some difficult times but it was a great place for me to start my practice. Although Flint is going through a transition, I think the mayor is doing great things and Flint will find its path. It has tremendous opportunities in health care and education, and phenomenal health care and educational institutions – key pieces to the region’s recovery and long-term success.” 
An inveterate traveler, he has passport stamps from more than 20 countries, travel experiences that he says enhance his “toolbox” and give unique perspectives that help in his professional career. 
“I’ve gained invaluable insights into understanding global markets, political systems and different cultures – all of these things can impact business transactions and operations,” he says. “I’ve taken traveling as personal growth experiences, but I also take those experiences and apply them to my professional life.”
On home turf, he and his wife live in Brighton, where he is involved in a number of activities. 
“It’s a great community and I love being a part of it.”

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