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Almeta Cooper

Association general counsel Almeta Cooper was born in 1950 to her mother Patricia Carter Cooper and her father. She attended Wells College in Aurora, New York, graduating with her B.A. degree in 1972. She then attended Northwestern University School of Law in Evanston, Illinois earning her J.D. degree from there in 1975.

Cooper went on to pursue a career in health law. She began her work as assistant director of health law at the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1977. She then worked as legal counsel for Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1982, MCP Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the mid-1980s, and the Ohio State Medical Association in Columbus, Ohio in 1999. In the early 2000s, Cooper became Associate Vice President for Health Sciences and Associate General Counsel for Health Sciences at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. In 2014, she became the senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Morehouse School of Medicine. She has been very involved in the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) since 1980, serving as the first African American woman president of the organization in 2003 among many other leadership roles. In 2012, Cooper was named a fellow of the AHLA in order to continue her contribution to the association. She is also an active member of the American Bar Association (ABA) and sits on a program committee for the Physician Legal Issues Conference and chairs the Public Health and Policy Interest Group. Cooper lectures regularly at law education conferences and other professional gatherings on topics such as “Medical Staff: The Fault Line between Physicians and Hospitals” and “How to Stay Focused on a Health Law Career.” Cooper was honored as a Mentor by the 2011 Top Corporate Counsel awards from Columbus Business First.

In addition to her health law career, Cooper was involved in numerous groups and organizations, including serving as president of the Central Ohio Links Inc. Chapter. She is also involved with Columbus Reads, the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, and the YWCA Family Center. She was awarded the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award in 2009 to honor her commitment to her community.

Almeta Cooper was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 10, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.163

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/10/2013 |and| 8/18/2018

Last Name

Cooper

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

Wells College

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Loudon Elementary School

Millbrook Park Elementary School

Spelman College

John F. Kennedy High School

Schiller International University

First Name

Almeta

Birth City, State, Country

Durham

HM ID

COO11

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

You Should Always Have A Dollar For The Robber. If You Don’t, He Will Kill You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/27/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Corporate general counsel Almeta Cooper (1950 - ) was senior vice president of health services and general counsel for The Ohio State University Medical Center.

Employment

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

American Medical Association (AMA)

Meharry Medical College

MCP Hahnemann University

Ohio State Medical Association

Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation (AHERF)

St. Thomas Hospital

Vedder, Price, Kaufman & Kammholz

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Almeta Cooper's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper talks about her maternal great-grandfather, Hawkins W. Carter

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Almeta Cooper talks about her mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Almeta Cooper describes her maternal grandparents' professions

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Almeta Cooper describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Almeta Cooper talks about her father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Almeta Cooper describes her father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Almeta Cooper remembers moving with her family to Willingboro, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Almeta Cooper talks about her parents' marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Almeta Cooper describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper remembers her father's sense of humor

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper talks about her sister

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper recalls her home in Roanoke, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Almeta Cooper describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Almeta Cooper talks about her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Almeta Cooper recalls her academic strengths

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Almeta Cooper remembers her early religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Almeta Cooper talks about moving to a predominantly white area of New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Almeta Cooper talks about her accelerated education program

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Almeta Cooper remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Almeta Cooper recalls her early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Almeta Cooper remembers John F. Kennedy High School in Willingboro, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Almeta Cooper remembers her cousin's advice to study law

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper recalls her decision to attend Wells College in Aurora, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper remembers the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper describes the black community at Wells College in Aurora, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper remembers her travels abroad

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Almeta Cooper recalls her college exchange programs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Almeta Cooper remembers her trip to Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Almeta Cooper describes her time at Spelman College, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Almeta Cooper describes her time at Spelman College, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Almeta Cooper remembers the mentorship of R. Eugene Pincham

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Almeta Cooper recalls her mentors at Wells College in Aurora, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper remembers her summer employment at the Western Union Company

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper remembers the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper recalls her mentors at the Northwestern University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper recalls her classmates at the Northwestern University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Almeta Cooper recalls joining the law firm of Vedder, Price, Kaufman and Kammholz, P.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Almeta Cooper recalls her position at the American Medical Association

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Almeta Cooper remembers being recruited to work for Dr. David Satcher

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Almeta Cooper recalls her challenges at the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Almeta Cooper recalls the highlights of her time at the Meharry Medical College

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Almeta Cooper talks about her marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Almeta Cooper recalls her position at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Almeta Cooper recalls joining the Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Almeta Cooper describes her role at the Ohio State Medical Association

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper talks about the Ohio State Medical Association Frivolous Lawsuit Committee

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper reflects upon her time at the Ohio State Medical Association

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper describes her position at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper recalls her challenges at The Ohio State University Medical Center

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Almeta Cooper reflects upon her professional accomplishments

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Almeta Cooper talks about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Almeta Cooper talks about her civic engagement

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Almeta Cooper reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Almeta Cooper describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Almeta Cooper talks about her friendship with Earlene Wandrey

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper talks about her daughter

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper describes her support from the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Almeta Cooper talks about the Ohio State Medical Association Frivolous Lawsuit Committee
Almeta Cooper recalls her challenges at The Ohio State University Medical Center
Transcript
Now this was in your file, a frivolous liability case filed against a Dr. Michael A. Banks, in 2007. Did, did you have anything to do with that?$$Right, well, that's what I was talking about, the frivolous lawsuit committee [Ohio State Medical Association Frivolous Lawsuit Committee] that I was involved in, is that what, there were several cases and I'm not sure if this was Dr. Banks' case but there was a case where, one example was, where the physician, the plaintiff, basically, had the plaintiff's lawyer tell the physician's lawyer that, "If you would agree to make a payment to me, even though I know that your physician doesn't have any liability, then we'll release you from the lawsuit." Well that's a very egregious situation right there and, you know, most malpractice companies at the time really didn't have the, the focus to really pursue when those types of situations arose so we were able to put a, you know, kind of shine a spotlight on that kind of conduct and say this is inconsistent with what the standards are in Ohio, you, you know, you cannot do that. And so that was a case where it was found in favor, the one I'm describing, in favor of the physician plaintiff, not the physician plaintiff, I mean, in terms of the physician who brought an allegation of frivolous lawsuit against the lawyer who represented that, that particular plaintiff. That we had another situation where a, a physician, we had another situation where a physician had a name that didn't sound like the typical name that you might hear in Ohio. It wasn't Cooper, it was another name, and the plaintiff's lawyer brought a lawsuit against this physician simply because she had the same last name as the physician who was actually involved in the medical care of the patient and the physician was very upset and she complained and we looked into her case and the lawyer did withdraw the case, but, you know, what people don't understand is once you're named in the case, you have to, you know, notify your company, you have to, you know, the company spends money to get you dismissed and so, you know, those, that, that all adds to the cost and expense of professional liability action. So--$$And adds to the cost of healthcare eventually, right (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) And adds to the cost of healthcare, exactly, exactly. So we were very excited to have some success in, in that arena.$What's been the biggest challenge working f- at Ohio State [The Ohio State University Medical Center; The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio]?$$Well, in the last year, probably the single largest challenge I've had, and it's been in the papers so I can talk about it. We did have an unfortunate incident in which there was a mistake in referral of a proficiency test in our clinical laboratory and a proficiency test is a test that's used to validate the testing that is done in the clinical laboratory. It's not, it does not involve a patient, an actual patient, and what happens is that you're supposed to treat that sample just as you would treat a real patient specimen except you do not process it all the way to its natural conclusion but you send it back to the testing authority and in this instance, one of our employees mistakenly referred it, treated it as a patient specimen and referred it to another laboratory. So, in the clinical laboratory world, even though at the time OSU was doing 10 million tests a year and ten thousand of these proficiency tests, there wasn't any flexibility in the way the code of regulations were written to allow CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] to be flexible with the medical center in terms of what kind of penalty would be assessed and, fortunately, during the time, during the nine months or so that this process was going on there was, the TEST Act [Taking Essential Steps for Testing Act of 2012] was passed which did give CMS more flexibility but in addition, we had very excellent outside counsel. I was able to identify the top lawyer at, Hope Foster [Hope S. Foster], who was at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Mintz Levin [Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.], who represented us and through the teamwork, both of the staff and the leadership in the laboratory, with excellent representation, I'm very pleased to say that in the end we were able to resolve the situation with CMS and it did not result in the very severe penalty of not being able to own or operate a clinical laboratory. So, but along the way we discovered a lot of opportunities that we could, that we needed to address as an organization and as a result of that, one of the things is that, in fact, I'm just in the transition of beginning to do this. I'm now the executive director for HHS [health and human services] advocacy, regulatory and quality improvement program so I will be doing more of this type of work to try to assist us as an organization in addressing any issues that we might have that relates to that, that regulatory environment.