Florida Mediator Advises Health-Care Companies: Heal Thyself

Richard B. Lord, a shareholder with Upchurch Watson White & Max, is a fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators and is a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. To schedule a mediation with Richard, please visit our online scheduling page or call his case manager, Cathy McCleary, at 800-863-1462.

Florida Mediator Richard Lord Richard Lord

Disputes within the healthcare system are a reality, and may become more frequent. You have seen it in your hometown no doubt, the signs of consolidation among healthcare providers. You may have been a part of one yourself. We have been in a period of such marriages, partly driven by the competitive advantages of such unions, the economic/reimbursement environment in which healthcare is delivered, and the impact on the practical day-to-day division of labor between and among those in the healthcare fields. You have also seen, or will soon see, a divorce or two for, as in all marriages, sometimes things just don’t work out.

My advice to anyone thinking divorce is to try to avoid it as the costs , on various levels, often is greater than either side anticipates. Communication is at the root of many business conflicts, as is true in interpersonal relations. Businesses of all shapes and sizes, not just in healthcare, should not fail to think about the benefits of communication early and often, perhaps with the benefit of a neutral facilitator. Having a neutral at the ready to facilitate communications along the path of maintaining a successful relationship can be the key to realizing that success. And having a trusted neutral help when things have to be ended or divided should also be a first choice, not a last.

Mergers, employment contracts, service agreements, the ownership of IP and valuation are just a few of the areas where a neutral can help the parties navigate aspects of their relationships and maintain a healthy business relationship in our ever changing healthcare environment. These issues are not unique to healthcare, and their management in a way that limits or eliminates “business divorce” can be the key to enjoying the benefits the business relationship was intended to provide.


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