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Health Law Honors Burgess

Health Law Honors Burgess

Ken Burgess

The Health Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association recognized Kenneth L. Burgess of Raleigh as the 11th recipient of its Distinguished Service Award. The award was presented at the section’s recent annual meeting.

The award is presented as merited “in recognition of lifelong achievements and outstanding contributions to health law, and exemplary service to health care professionals, the bar and the general public.”

Burgess practices with Poyner Spruill, where he is a partner in its Health Care Practice Group.

“Ken,” as a firm press release so aptly stated, “has long been an advocate for educating North Carolina families on the importance of having honest discussions about end-of-life health care decisions.

“This passion, over many years of leadership and service, helped lead to the collaboration between the NCBA and the North Carolina Partnership for Compassionate care on the ‘Got Plans’ (formerly known as ‘A Gift to Your Family’) initiative. This is now a statewide effort to help advance end-of-life health care planning for individuals.

“This project really came to fruition this year,” Burgess said. “We had two end-of-life health planning clinics in 2015 and this year we had 21 clinics in 21 counties, which is better than one-fifth of the counties in the state.

“Our goal is to have the clinics every year in April in conjunction with National Healthcare Decisions Day and we won’t be happy until every N.C. county has a clinic opportunity. And we are already getting requests for clinics at other times.    

“The word is getting out that this is really great. At some of the clinics we had 20 people and at some of them we had 300.”

Burgess, the press release added, has twice served as president of the North Carolina Society of Health Care Attorneys and has been a member of the N.C. Medical Society Ethical and Judicial Affairs Committee, the North Carolina Autism Society board, the Future Care Foundation board and the American Health Care Association National Legal Committee.

The Jessie F. Richardson Foundation recognized him in 2008 as its Volunteer of the Year for his service to indigent elders in Nicaragua.

Burgess grew up in Battleboro and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Campbell Law School. He began his career with Poyner Spruill in 1985 and worked there for four years as an associate. After working for healthcare trade groups and living in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, he returned to Poyner Spruill in 2006.

Previous recipients of the Health Law Section’s Distinguished Service Award are Roddey M. Ligon Jr. (1993), John Anderson Jr. (1995), Wendell H. Ott (1996), John G. Shaw (2003), Leighton P. Roper III (2008), Samuel O. Southern (2010), Lorelle J. Feezor (2011), Karen A. Gledhill (2012), Noah H. Huffstetler III (2013) and Claire L. Moritz (2015).