Health

Palter a trusted adviser to health law clients

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

When it comes to health law, Toronto lawyer Simmie Palter has done it all.

Following her call to the bar in 1998, Palter spent the better part of a decade as legal counsel in Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, before launching her own sole practice advising both public and private sector clients on a variety of matters in the health-care field.

Since late 2016, the beneficiaries of Palter’s wealth of health law experience have been clients of DDO Health Law, where she is senior counsel.

“I’ve always been interested in health-related law, and how it could help people,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com, explaining that her involvement in the field actually predates her legal career.

Palter worked as a research assistant for several physicians while studying for her undergraduate degree in psychology at McGill University, and throughout law school.

“That gave me an interest in issues around informed consent, which has continued ever since,” she says.

At Osgoode Hall Law School, Palter zeroed in on the emerging niche, joining the faculty’s health law association and enrolling in its single health law course.

“It was the beginning of health law as a practice area,” she says. “It’s really a combination of a number of existing practices, with the health sector layered over the top.

“It was certainly small, but growing,” Palter adds, noting her law school years saw several legislative changes that accelerated health law’s development, including the passage of Ontario’s Consent to Treatment Act, which evolved into the Health Care Consent Act.

During her time at the ministry, Palter helped to develop and implement further legislative changes allowing health professionals to incorporate their practices, alongside advising on matters including regulated health professions, land and air ambulance services, international medical graduates, and Ontario drug benefit programs.

Palter’s current varied practice sees her advising both public and private health sector clients on issues touching on privacy and data sharing, physician agreements, governance, public policy, long-term care home agreements and policies and commercial contracts.

Whoever she’s working with, Palter gives clients plenty of time to explain their situation before helping them settle on the best way forward.

“I will usually ask numerous questions so that I know exactly what the client wants to achieve when they are seeking legal advice,” she says. “I need a great deal of background detail so that I can really understand their needs.”

In addition to her legal practice, Palter also serves as a managing editor for the Health Law in Canada newsletter published by Lexis Nexis Canada and is a member of the Ontario Bar Association’s health law section.

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