Rick E. Harris

Contact Rick

334-669-3433 - Direct
205-868-6099 - Fax
Email Rick rharris@starneslaw.com

100 Brookwood Place
7th Floor
P.O. Box 598512
Birmingham, AL 35259

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Rick E. Harris
Of Counsel


Rick’s practice is devoted to regulatory compliance issues affecting health care facilities. Prior to joining Starnes Davis Florie, he worked as an attorney and senior manager at the Alabama Department of Public Health. For the last fifteen years of his career there, Rick directed the agency that inspects and regulates all health care facilities in the State of Alabama.


Rick was admitted to the bar in 1980. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. He has served as president of the Association of Health Facility Survey Agencies, which is made up of the health care regulatory agencies in all 50 states. He represented regulatory agencies on the Assisted Living Workgroup, which was formed at the request of the United States Senate Committee on Aging. He has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and numerous committees in the Alabama Legislature. He has appeared on the NPR program, “Talk of the Nation,” and has been quoted in USA Today and U.S. News & World Report on health care regulatory issues. Rick has taught investigative skills to the staffs of health care facility surveyors (inspectors) in Alabama, Mississippi, Wyoming, and Oregon, and has presented programs on investigative skills and assisted living regulation at the national meeting of the Association of Health Care Facility Survey Agencies, as well as the Alabama Nursing Home Association, the Assisted Living Association of Alabama, and the Alabama Medical Directors Association. He crafted many of the regulations and statutes that govern health care facilities in Alabama. Rick has also served as a professional consultant to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") on the issues of complaint investigation, supervisory review, guidance for declaring immediate jeopardy, and inconsistency in the citation of deficiencies.


Professional Positions

Director, Bureau of Health Provider Standards
Alabama Department of Public Health
January 1998 - November 2010

Deputy Director, Bureau of Health Care Standards and
Director, Division of Licensure and  Certification
Alabama Department of Public Health
August 1995 - January 1998

Deputy Director, Bureau of Health Care Standards
Alabama Department of Public Health
April 1995 - August 1995

Director, Office of Emergency Medical Services
Alabama Department of Public Health
April 1992 - April 1995

Assistant Attorney General, Staff Assistant to the State Health Officer
Alabama Department of Public Health
August 1989 - April 1991

Partner, Private Law Practice
Moore, Kendrick, Glassroth, Harris & White
1982 - 1989

Staff Attorney
Legal Services Corporation of Alabama, Montgomery Regional Office
1980 - 1981

Honors And Awards

President of the Association of Health Facility Survey Agencies 2002 - 2003

First Recipient of Annual Clarence Darrow Award Presented by Alabama State Bar, 1985

Former Chairman, Health Law Section Alabama State Bar

American Health Lawyers Association

Alabama Defense Lawyers Association

Alabama Nursing Home Defense Lawyers Association

Defense Research Institute (DRI)

Community Involvement

United States Navy, 1971-77, Honorably Discharged

KAIROS Prison Ministry

Founding Member, Anawim Uganda

Speeches And Publications

* Thinking Outside The Box: A Global Perspective to Risk Management, 2015 Alabama Nursing Home Association Legal Compliance Seminar, Birmingham, AL, January 12, 2015.

* Responding to Allegations of Abuse and Neglect, Alabama Nursing Home Association Seminar - 2014 Legal Compliance for Nursing Homes, January 13, 2014.

* Revised CMS Guidance on Anti-Psychotic Medications and What It Means for Nursing Homes, Alabama Nursing Home Association Conference:  “Survey Process—Update 2013”, Birmingham, AL November 20, 2013.

* Appeals, Civil Money Penalties, IDR, and IIDR --OR-- Methods to Help Your Clients Defend Against Regulatory Citations, American Conference Institute Long Term Care Regulatory Boot Camp, Chicago, IL, July 23, 2013.

* What Legal Cases Can Teach Us about Avoiding High Level Deficiency Citations, Alabama Nursing Home Association Mid-Year Convention, Orange Beach, Alabama, April 30, 3013.

* Handling Citations for Falls: Lessons Learned from Published Cases, Alabama Nursing Home Lawyers Association, Orange Beach Alabama, April 27, 2013.

* State Survey Agency Directors Orientation Course, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Annapolis, MD, April 8-9, 2013 and Denver, CO, September 25-27, 2013.

Related News

6/22/2016 Global Law Experts Names Starnes Davis Florie LLP Professional Medical Liability Law Firm of the Year in Alabama 2016

1/16/2014 Starnes Davis Florie Attorney Rick Harris Speaks at Alabama Nursing Home Association Seminar


Healthcare Audit and Fraud Claim Defense
Long Term Care & Nursing Home Litigation
Long Term Care & Other Healthcare Regulatory Compliance


University of New Hampshire
B.G.S. 1977
Summa Cum Laude

University of Pennsylvania
Law School

Bar Admissions

Alabama 1980


U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama

U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court