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Kenneth L. Burgess, a Partner in Poyner Spruill’s Health Care Practice Group, has been honored with the North Carolina Bar Association 2016 Health Law Distinguished Service Award “in recognition of his lifelong achievements and outstanding contributions to health law, and his exemplary service to health care professionals, the bar, and the general public.”

“Health care is an area where we as a society face some of our greatest challenges,” Ken says. “I’m fortunate to work in a practice that is so important for so many organizations, families and individuals.”

The award was presented during the section’s annual meeting.

Ken has served as a health care lawyer, with over 30 years of experience, and as a community volunteer. He leads Poyner Spruill’s Health Law Section with a practice that focuses heavily on issues affecting long term care and acute care providers. Ken often writes for industry publications about health care law topics and speaks frequently to health care providers and their trade organizations. He is also the primary author and editor of Poyner Spruill’s international award-winning newsletter, Shorts on Long Term Care.

Ken 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, led 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.

Ken has been recognized by Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers magazine as a health care attorney. He’s also served on numerous boards and committees in the health care and legal fields, including twice serving as president of the North Carolina Society of Health Care Attorneys, 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, and has worked with the Jessie F. Richardson Foundation serving indigent elders in Nicaragua for which he was named the organization’s 2008 National Volunteer of the Year.

At Poyner Spruill, Ken has advised hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted-living communities, and related long term care vendors on licensure, certification, survey, fraud and abuse, operations, risk management, certificate of need and business issues. He previously served as senior counsel to the national long term care trade association in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for administering the association’s legal assistance litigation fund, and overseeing all regulatory, facility operations and clinical staff of the Association. In addition, he served as general counsel to ALFA (Assisted Living Federation of America), the national assisted living trade association in Washington, D.C.

Ken graduated from the University of North Carolina with a B.A. in 1979 and received his J.D. cum laude from Campbell University Law School in 1984.

About Poyner Spruill

Poyner Spruill LLP is a large, multidisciplinary North Carolina law firm, providing a comprehensive range of business and litigation legal services. The firm has a reputation for professional excellence and client service throughout the Southeast. Poyner Spruill has offices in Charlotte, Raleigh, Rocky Mount and Southern Pines. To learn more visit

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