Conflict can arise in almost every facet of health care.  Issues may include employment and credentialing disputes, traditional malpractice claims, premises liability charges, family disputes in a hospital, denial of claims for reimbursement, disagreements related to the buying and selling of physician practices, and hospital mergers and acquisitions.  While Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is being more commonly used to efficiently resolve disputes, the American Bar Association (ABA) recently noted that “anecdotal evidence suggests that the health care industry and the legal profession with an interest in health care have lagged behind others in embracing the broad array of dispute resolution techniques to address conflicts and resolve disputes.”  For this reason and others, the ABA adopted a resolution urging “lawyers and all interested parties to encourage the informed and voluntary use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes as an effective, efficient and appropriate means to resolve health care disputes.”

The key to successful ADR is to address issues before relationships break down, individuals take sides, and costs begin to rise.  ADR offers many benefits in comparison to traditional litigation, including:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Expertise of a neutral arbitrator
  • Flexibility of the process and solutions
  • Ability to maintain long-term relationships
  • No or little discovery
  • Confidentiality and privacy
  • Enforceability of the resolution

Next time a conflict arises in your healthcare practice, ADR should be something considered at the outset.

Find the ABA’s resolution here: