System Disorders: Trying to Build Resolution into Managed Care Chapter 17
Brad Honoroff is a managing partner in the Mediation Group, a private firm providing mediation, training, consulting, and arbitration services in Brookline, Mass. He is a faculty member at the Graduate Programs in Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts – Boston.
Christopher Honeyman is a mediator who is president of Convenor, a dispute resolution consulting firm based in Madison, Wis. He also was director of Theory to Practice, a national project funded by the Hewlett Foundation to improve communication between conflict resolution scholars and practitioners, which is discussed in this article. He currently directs another Hewlett-funded effort, the Broad Field project, a national initiative to create better cross fertilization across a wide range of conflict resolution activity.
We all know health maintenance organizations and their customers experience plenty of conflict. But ask where the center of the problems might lie, or even what these conflicts cost, you’re going to get heated, poorly documented, and hopelessly contradictory answers.
The most knowledgeable observers on all sides will admit that the scale of these organizations, the variety of issues that cause conflict, and the variety of ways they are addressed – or not addressed – make any current estimates essentially guesswork.
Designing means of identifying the major locations, sources, issues, and players in conflict in managed health care is the key to parties’ recognition of the problem’s true scale, pervasiveness and costs. That recognition, in turn, is the essential prologue to the major effort at systematic dispute prevention and resolution which, up to now, has been elusive.
As an early and deceptively simple part of an effort to build sophisticated tools for analyzing managed health care “dispute streams,” the authors of this article organized an unusual initial discussion for a selected cross-section of health care professionals, scholars and dispute resolution practitioners. This article will briefly describe the process used and some of the things the authors and the participants learned.