Monthly Feature: Get to Know... Tracy E. Miller
April 1, 2019
By: Tracy E. Miller
As an undergrad at Brown University, Tracy Miller was encouraged to pursue her intellectual passions, which immersed her in history, literature and the Spanish language. At Harvard Law, Tracy was schooled on the principle that the law is constantly changing and what defines a great attorney is the possession of the analytic skills to address new laws and issues as they emerge.
Tracy learned her lessons well. Today, as the Deputy Chair of Bond’s Health Care and Long-Term Care Practice and Co-Chair of the firm's Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practice, Tracy is on the cutting edge of the law, focusing on the continually evolving practice areas of health care, data privacy and security, compliance, and corporate law.
Tracy's clients benefit from her broad experience as outside counsel, a former general counsel of a large health system and as a former policy maker. An invaluable asset to health care clients across the continuum of care, she ably tackles emerging issues presented by the major transition underway in health care delivery. In particular, she focuses on the legal and strategic challenges posed by new care delivery models -- governance, corporate transactions, value-based payment, population health management, corporate compliance, data privacy, cybersecurity, and complex contractual relationships.
Early on, Tracy impressed colleagues with her ability to quickly understand and embrace developing issues. While in her first law job at a New York City firm with a not for profit and public sector practice, a colleague recommended her for a position as the first Executive Director of the NYS Task Force on Life and the Law, established in 1985 by then Governor Mario Cuomo. Appointed by Cuomo, Tracy led this prestigious task force that examined ethics and medicine and made recommendations to New York State elected officials. During her 10 years as Executive Director, the state adopted the extant policy of many of the laws that now define the rights of patients and family members in making health care decisions.
“The Task Force consisted of 23 Governor-appointed prominent experts who developed public policy on issues related to medicine, law, and ethics. “Working with leaders from healthcare, professional, and religious organizations enabled me to gain a deep, formative understanding of and way of learning about health care issues. The Task Force faced many novel constitutional questions, and policy issues that were first settled in New York and later adopted by other states.”
Tracy cites her mother, who played a prominent role in the civil rights movement, as an influence to her own interest in public policy and public service. “My mother was among the pioneers in her generation, as an advocate for civil rights, and in positions at the Ford Foundation and in the Carter administration.”
In her role as general counsel of a health system, Tracy grappled with, “everything that arose, including contracts, governance and compliance issues, personnel matters, and labor and employment. Tracy finds her health care practice particularly satisfying. “It’s complex, interesting and ultimately affects the individual patient. The task force was always focused on the well-being and interests of patients and I enjoy working with my health care clients because that end goal is a big part of what they do.”
She is also intrigued by the transformation in healthcare delivery. “The model has changed from a system that’s focused on delivering services for a fee to a system that is focused on treating patients across the continuum. This new system raises complex issues including data privacy so that healthcare providers can exchange patient data, affiliation arrangements, cyber security, and incentive payments to coordinate care. It’s fascinating and continually presents new questions and raises legal issues as I work with clients.”
“Data privacy is a significant issue with our clients seeking to improve care coordination, as data must be shared in compliance with state and federal law. Data sharing also requires cyber security safeguards and planning--as clients share more data, they have to handle the risks of data they share and receive.” Cyber security threats are constantly changing as well. “We work with clients proactively to put policy and best practice in place, and are always available in case of a breach.”
In her deputy and co-chair roles, Tracy enjoys working with her colleagues in New York City and Bond’s other offices around the State. “As I work on emerging problems that present new challenges, they are a great resource. I have also enjoyed working with the Higher Education Practice Group on cybersecurity, data privacy and other overlapping areas of law in that arena.”
“By and large I represent institutions and providers rather than patients, but I’m well versed in both sides. For the Task Force, I wrote laws that affect every person who enters a hospital or nursing home, as well as their loved ones and health care providers, to help protect the patient’s rights and interests as treatment decisions are made, often before a patient ever enters a facility. Today, these legal mechanisms allow someone to choose a particular person to make decisions for them if they are unable to speak for themselves.”