Week 4 Assignment – Legal Solutions

OD_20201109M_HSM120_5AssignmentsWeek 4 Assignment – Legal Solutions
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Week 4 Assignment – Legal Solutions
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Learning Objectives Covered:
LO 05.04 – Identify existing/proposed legal solutions to the conflicts among healthcare public policies, ethics, and professional practice
Career Relevancy

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As a healthcare services manager, you must be informed on legal matters so that you can handle them if they arise. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of going to court, seeking mediation, or using arbitration will help you decide which course of action is right in the different situations you may face in your career.


Sometimes, legal issues can’t be avoided. In such situations, it’s important to understand your options. One increasingly popular choice in the healthcare field is alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which includes several options for settling a case outside of the courtroom. Alternative dispute resolution is not limited to disputes between a patient and physician; it can also be applied to conflicts with governmental regulatory agencies, healthcare organizations, and groups of people. Two common forms of alternative dispute resolution are mediation and arbitration.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) describes mediation as “assisted negotiation [in which] a trained, neutral third party helps two or more parties negotiate to resolve their dispute.” Mediators use problem-solving skills to decide if and how to resolve the problem without the burdens of a full courtroom trial—there is no witness testimony, evidence collection, or judge/jury. Instead, the mediator helps both parties communicate and come to a decision.

There are three phases to the mediation process.

Introductory: the mediator explains how the process works, and the parties set ground rules and decide on a timetable for the mediation.
Problem-solving: the parties “focus on issues, interests, options for resolution and criteria for evaluating the options” (HHS, 2019). The involved parties may also meet with the mediator in private for confidentiality purposes.
Closure: the mediator drafts an agreement (if the parties have agreed to one). If they could not reach an agreed-upon solution, the mediator shares possible next steps with them.

The Department of Health and Human Services suggests that parties seek mediation when emotions or costs are high, when the dispute needs to be solved in a timely manner, when parties want to preserve confidentiality, or when the parties want to preserve their relationship. Rather than the extensive rules and formalities of a civil or criminal trial, mediation is more like a parent helping children settle an argument.

In contrast to mediation, which is a more casual process for resolving disputes, arbitration is usually binding, meaning both parties must agree to and abide by the final decision. Like judge and jury trials, there will always be a decision made in an arbitration; the process is guided by a retired judge or an arbitration-trained lawyer acting as a neutral arbitrator. Like mediation, however, there are no set rules of evidence in arbitration.

There have been accusations that arbitration favors whichever party has more power, usually a healthcare organization in this case, but either side has the option to reject an arbitrator if they suspect bias. For ethical purposes, though, it is important to make sure patients understand arbitration agreements: “health-care publications have been detailing how families unwittingly sign arbitration agreements when checking aging relatives into long-term care facilities, only to find their hands tied later” (Khazan, 2015). Binding arbitration offers little to no appeal options, so both parties must abide by the decision, regardless of whether they agree with it—as opposed to mediation, where they can hold off until both sides reach an agreement.


HHS. (2019, July 11). Mediation. Retrieved June 17, 2020, from https://www.hhs.gov/about/agencies/dab/adr-services/mediation/index.html
(Links to an external site.)

Khazan, O. (2015, November 2). Why you should read that doctors’ office paperwork closely. The Atlantic. Retrieved June 17, 2020, from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/11/arbitration-medical/413641/
(Links to an external site.)


For this assignment, you will examine the role of binding arbitration for your medical practice. Create a minimum 10-slide presentation in which you take a stance as either for or against binding arbitration to share with your regional director. Your presentation should support your choice about the use of binding arbitration for resolving patient grievances.

Your presentation should be a minimum of 10 slides with at least 1 citation and reference.

Elements to consider: malpractice, disputes over care, and employee disputes.

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