Several times in the course of my life I’ve been involved with a cohort of people who envisioned themselves as a possible vanguard of fundamental social change even while they were pursuing professional careers In fact, many of the early mediation practitioners were also veterans of civil rights and anti-war activities who were drawn to ADR as an alternative path to justice, equality, and social change.
The use of ADR to resolve healthcare-related claims will increase with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Experts predict the increase will stem from the need to reduce costs as well as the healthcare groups that will bring new disputes for resolution.
The budget cuts to the court system have perhaps been felt more severely in California. In March, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye lamented in a speech to the state legislature, “our judicial branch budget has been cut greater and deeper than any other court in the United States.”
Ann Begler describes the interaction between mediators and healthcare organizations. She believes that both fields need each other and could be a benefit to the other field.
HOPE has recently published a report entitled Mediation in Healthcare, which presents the results of a survey aiming at comparing the scope and methodology of conflict resolution in the healthcare sector in the different EU Member States.
I recently attended training in ‘telephone mediation’ delivered by two members of Mer Majesty’s Court Service (HMCS) Small Claims Mediation team. Over 99% of their mediations are conducted over the telephone in an hour or less.
In his book, Beyond Neutrality, Bernard Mayer says, “Conflict resolution professionals are not significantly involved in the major conflicts of our times. Many conflict resolution practitioners play useful but essentially marginal roles in large-scale public conflicts… we are not involved at the center of the conflict or decision-making processes.”
The need to manage conflict in the healthcare setting is not new. Much has been written about disruptive behaviors creating breakdowns in the teamwork, collaboration and communication needed to deliver high quality patient care. A study by The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) found that forty percent of clinicians have remained passive or kept quiet during patient care events rather than confront a known intimidator.
Last March The Joint Commission announced its long awaited, revised medical staff standard (MS) 01.01.01, which will replace MS 1.20. The new MS 01.01.01 becomes effective March 31, 2011, to allow facilities and medical staffs to prepare for implementation. The intent of the MS 01.01.01 is, inter alia, to establish a conflict management process in the event of a conflict between/among the medical staff, medical executive committee, and the governing body of a facility. The goal is to enhance patient safety and the quality of care by creating a positive working relationship between a facility and its medical staff.
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the University of Texas “Innovation in Health Care Delivery Systems: Maintaining Quality and Reducing Costs Through Management and Information Technology”. One breakout session featured Donde Plowman, Ph.d., Business Professor and Department Head from the University of Tennessee. She has recently undertaken a study to increase the relevance of health services research to leaders in the health field.
Howard Gadlin discusses where he sees the mediation field heading in the next 25 years. It will become another reasonably established profession, credentialing standards will develop, standards and guidelines will formalize.
A new leadership standard issued in January 2009 by The Joint Commission, the accrediting body for hospitals, addresses the development of a code of conduct that defines acceptable, disruptive, and inappropriate behaviors; and requires the creation and implementation of a process for managing disruptive and inappropriate behaviors.
Randy Lowry speaks of the developments in the mediation field he foresees: more educational programs in schools, more institutions, more agencies practicing mediation, growth of programs, program expansion at Pepperdine, contribution to medical field.