University of South Florida

Health News

Robert Pelaia named a fellow of national health law organization

USF Health’s Robert Pelaia has been named a fellow of the American Health Law Association (AHLA) for his dedication and expertise in health law and for making significant contributions to the AHLA and the broader health law community.

Pelaia is deputy general counsel at USF and focuses on health law, guiding USF Health in legal and contractual matters.

He is among four attorneys named 2024 AHLA fellows, who become ambassadors for the Association and serve as role models and mentors to current AHLA members. Pelaia was recently recognized at the group’s meeting Washington DC.

Robert Pelaia

In the AHLA announcement of the new fellows, AHLA Chief Executive Officer David S. Cade noted:

“With extensive careers spanning decades, they have each shown exemplary leadership and commitment to advancing the mission of AHLA. Their contributions range from high-profile legal representations to advocacy for underserved communities and initiatives promoting inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility within our profession… Their dedication to excellence serves as an inspiration to us all, and we look forward to their continued contributions to the advancement of health law.”

Pelaia joined the USF Office of General Counsel in 2015 after 18 years with the Office of the General Counsel at the University of Florida, where he served as the senior university counsel for Health Affairs. He is certified as a Health Care Law Specialist by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education and certified as a Professional Coder and a Professional Compliance Officer by the American Academy of Professional Coders. He began his legal career with two large Washington, D.C. law firms, where he represented health care providers on an array of health regulatory matters arising under Medicare, Medicaid and other third-party payment programs. In addition, he provided legal counseling in the areas of federal and state fraud and abuse matters, including issues of anti-kickback, self-referral and false claims. Mr. Pelaia is admitted to practice in Florida, the District of Columbia and New Jersey.

Pelaia earned his bachelor's degree in French and International Communications from the State University of New York, and his law degree, with a concentration in health law and policy, from Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, NJ.

His areas of practice include: compliance, conflicts of interest, contracts, corporate matters, ethics, health-HIPAA, health law, liability issues, medical residency, open meetings law, public records, research matters, student records (FERPA), and subpoenas.

Pelaia received a USF Health Culture Coin in October 2020 for his effort in guiding a co-worker to care during the height of COVID-19 pandemic. He is also active in local theatre. 

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About Health News

USF Health News highlights the great work of the faculty, staff and students across the four health colleges – Morsani College of Medicine, College of Public Health, College of Nursing and Taneja College of Pharmacy – and the multispecialty physicians group. USF Health, an integral part of the University of South Florida, integrates research, education and health care to reach our shared value - making life better.