The Health Law Center provides dispute resolution, also known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) or conflict resolution services to assist individuals with resolving conflicts and disputes that stem from legal contracts and arrangements between individuals, businesses and vendors. Donna J. Craig, RN, JD, as a registered nurse attorney, brings her extensive experience as a health law attorney, as a clinician and as a dispute and conflict resolver to provide for meaningful ways in which to resolve a variety of disputes and conflicts. Originally dispute or conflict resolution services referred to processes, such as arbitration and mediation, and were used by attorneys to resolve disputes and conflicts as an alternative to litigating cases in the courtroom. Now arbitration and mediation are often written into legal contracts between parties and used to resolve misunderstandings that may arise between contracting parties from time to time.
Ms. Craig is a trained mediator, arbitrator and health law attorney, and serves on the American Arbitration Association and the American Health Lawyers Association, ADR Service panels. She served as the Chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar of Michigan in 2010. Ms. Craig also has experience in serving as a hearing officer when health plans and hospital medical staffs take action to remove the health care providers from their panels and medical staffs. The hearing officer’s primary responsibility is to ensure a fair hearing process is maintained.
The advantages of using a neutral third party to mediate, facilitate, arbitrate or serve as a hearing officer is that: issues are settled outside of the public eye, in a private manner; money and time can be saved, as dispute resolution processes are generally quicker than court proceedings; and the parties have more control over the outcome. Dispute and conflict resolution is effective in resolving disputes involving business partnerships, business-vendor issues, health care disputes, personal injury and medical malpractice claims, and insurance reimbursement matters.
Mediation – The mediator serves as a neutral third party, assisting individuals in identifying all the issues, and helping them brainstorm ways to resolve the dispute or conflict that is agreeable to the them. Since parties decide when all issues and disputes have been resolved, they have full control over the outcome of the mediation process.
Arbitration – Arbitration is more formal than mediation, but less formal than going to court. The advantage of arbitration is that disputing parties can present their cases, call witnesses and introduce documents, all in a confidential manner. The neutral arbitrator’s role is to provide for a fair hearing on the issues in dispute, and make a decision as to which party prevails. The decision is written in the form of a formal award and is generally final and binding.
Facilitation – As with the other dispute and conflict resolution processes, a neutral facilitator assists individuals with difficult conversations, such as work place conflicts and end-of-life conversations. The facilitator “facilitates” the conversation so that all individuals are heard.
Hearing Officer – A hearing officer is responsible for conducting a fair, impartial hearing or meeting in compliance with applicable bylaws, due process requirements and/or organizational requirements. Hearing officers do not decide matters, but facilitate the process so that due process is provided. A concept that is instilled in the practice of law, and one that Ms. Craig adheres to as an attorney.
If you have any questions regarding dispute or conflict resolution processes, please contact Donna J. Craig, RN, JD, a nurse attorney, at The Health Law Center, PLC at firstname.lastname@example.org.