A Dose of ADR for the Health Care Industry - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 57, No. 1
The author is a full-time mediator and arbitrator of complex commercial disputes, including health care disputes. A former U.S. magistrate and commercial litigator, John W. Cooley is a founding member of Judicial Dispute Resolution Inc. in Chicago.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
It is ironic that the very industry the public relies on for immediate help sorely needs help itself. We’re talking about the health care industry and the enormous increase in medical malpractice cases and other health care-related disputes in recent years. In the following article, John W. Cooley discusses how some hospitals and industry leaders are turning to ADR, specifically mediation and arbitration, to cure the health care industry of its own chronic malady. Cooley describes the success of a Chicago hospital in using a special mechanism called co-mediation and encourages members of the health care industry to be just as creative in tailoring ADR to suit their dispute resolution needs. This article is an adaptation of the author’s presentation at an International Congress on the private resolution of disputes held in Recife, Brazil, in November 2001.
In the United States, lawyers are now moving into an era where clients are placing a premium on lawyers’ creative ability to design processes for resolving disputes, in addition to the traditional tasks of designing problems and solutions. It is not enough anymore for a lawyer to design wonderfully elegant legal problems and solutions and take them to court for adjudication.
Clients are now beginning to expect, and sometimes demand, that their lawyers be architects of cost-efficient mechanisms for converting the raw materials of arcane legal problems and legal solutions into early mutual-gain settlements or limited-risk private adjudications.
Two such primary mechanisms are mediation and arbitration. This phenomenon of process design is blossoming in almost every field of legal practice, and most recently with respect to disputes arising in the health care industry considered in its broadest sense—public and private hospitals, academic medical institutions, private clinics, nursing homes, health maintenance organizations, physician organizations, health care insurers, health care suppliers and service providers, among others. This article specifically addresses the use of mediation and arbitration in that industry.