Unique Challenges in the Health Care Industry and How Mediation Can Resolve Conflict

Unresolved conflict in the health care setting can lead to significant challenges in this industry. Being aware of these challenges and alternative forms of dispute resolution like mediation can help.

Conflict in the health care setting can result in significant expenses, both direct and indirect. If the case is litigated, there will be additional legal fees that the health care facility will have to pay. Additionally, unresolved conflict can affect patient satisfaction, occupancy rates, workers’ compensation and disability claims, increased turnover, and decreased employee morale, an increase in clinical errors and a disruption of management time. Negative publicity can further negatively affect the health care setting.

Confidentiality is another concern in the health care setting. The staff may not be able to freely disclose relevant medical information to all interested parties. This may create an additional barrier to resolving conflict. Additionally, the health care setting may have time constraints that impact the ability to wait for litigation to finalize in order to resolve the problem. Additionally, situations involving conflict in the health care setting often involve emotionally charged situations.

Many physicians and nurses do not have significant training in negotiation, conflict resolution skills or communication. The mediation process allows an expert in these skills to help facilitate an agreement. A mediator can work closely with the parties, inform them of misconceptions and help uncover hidden interests to help the parties more agreeable to a cooperative solution. Additionally, mediation addresses many of the challenges involved in the healthcare setting. The parties can agree to keep the proceedings confidential so that there is not negative publicity or an invasion of the patient’s privacy.

Can Traffic Violations Be Mediated?

Due to the widespread benefits of the process, mediation is being used in increasingly more diverse arenas, including in cases involving crimes or traffic citations. Mediation is often turned to when the parties involved do not want to go through the time, expense and effort of litigation, and traffic violations are no exception. Judges and prosecutors want to avoid trials and lengthy court proceedings and may recommend mediation to resolve a traffic dispute.

During mediation, the person who received the violation and a prosecutor or someone with the legal authority to resolve the case meet together with the help of a trained mediator. The parties listen to the mediator’s explanation that the process is confidential and that if they are unable to reach an amicable resolution of the case, they cannot repeat what was said during this process. Each party then states their position and their hopes for a successful outcome. The mediator may then divide the parties and meet with them one-on-one or may talk to both of them in the same room. The mediator points out the strengths and weaknesses of each position and reminds the parties about the possible consequences of not reaching an agreement, such as expensive court costs or a lack of a predictable outcome.

If the parties reach an agreement during mediation, this is written up and signed by the parties. Depending on the situation, the parties may then need to submit this agreement to the judge for approval. The prosecutor may have to take additional action, such as dismissing or modifying the charges.

Possible Ways to Resolve Tax Debt through Mediation

Depositphotos_31199551_xl-2015For many people, tax debt is crippling. When a person gets behind on taxes, it may be difficult for him or her to ever catch up. The mediation process can be used to form a settlement agreement with the IRS, as well as state tax agencies, but the taxpayer must affirmatively request this measure. During mediation, the taxpayer and tax representative may reach a settlement regarding tax debt, such as:

 An Offer in Compromise

 In some situations, you may be able to settle your tax debt for less than you actually owe. The IRS typically only accepts this arrangement if it is unlikely that it will be able to collect the tax debt by traditional enforcement options.  An offer in compromise is a great option for some taxpayers since it reduces the total amount they pay. This option is available through a lump-sum or periodic payment.

Installment Agreement

 An installment agreement with the IRS allows you to make a more affordable payment to the IRS each month until your tax debt is paid off. The IRS may agree to a longer term for taxpayers to repay their debt so that they have a guaranteed payment coming in.

Penalty Abatement

 Typically, if you do not pay and file your taxes by the original deadline, you will be assessed additional penalties. Through mediation, a taxpayer may be able to have these penalties waived through penalty abatement. This relief may be in addition to other forms of relief, such as an installment agreement or offer in compromise.

Innocent Spouse Relief

 In some situations, you may not be required to pay off tax debt such as if your spouse was responsible for the debt. You will have to meet certain guidelines, but this can be an effective way to relieve yourself of at least part of the debt.

Student Loan Mediation

The student loan crisis has reached an all-time high with student loan debt passing $1.5 trillion in the United States. While senators are talking about significant reform and programs that can potentially wipe the debt away, any such programs would likely take years to implement and do not immediately help individuals struggling with paying on their existing student loans. Graduates are looking to alternative methods of addressing their personal financial challenges stemming from student loan debt and are turning to mediation in greater numbers.

Many students first turn to an ombudsman for help. This is a person who can often help resolve conflicts involving federal and private student loans. He or she can assess both sides of a loan dispute and help individuals and loan program representatives negotiate a solution. Taking this proactive route can often help avoiding falling into default on a student loan or getting out of default if this occurs. The ombudsman helps the borrower and the loan program representative find possible compromises and corrects mistakes. The ombudsman may help with tracking loan payments, looking into consolidation options, suggesting repayment plans or correcting loan mistakes.

If the borrower is not satisfied with this result or the loan program representative refuses to settle on agreeable terms, the next step may be mediation. During mediation, a loan program stakeholder and the borrower may negotiate for an amicable resolution. This stakeholder should have the ability to take action on the loan, such as reducing a balance, making changes on a payment plan or negotiating a longer repayment term. The parties may be able to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution through this method.

Trained mediators have developed skills in better communication techniques and also rely on their experience in other cases. They may make suggestions that worked in other cases that the parties had not considered. They also will listen objectively to each side and remain neutral throughout the process.

What to Expect from Boating Accident Mediation

boatMediation is becoming increasingly popular in personal injury claims, including boating accidents.  This process helps parties work together to resolve their legal dispute.  A specially-trained mediator helps them communicate better and achieve a settlement with which they both can agree.  Some things to expect from boating accident mediation are discussed below:


Personal injury mediation usually lasts a half-day or full day.  However, if the case is more complicated, it may last longer.  For example, it may last longer if there are multiple parties involved.  Additionally, some parties may be reluctant to settle the case at the first mediation appointment but may return later to this forum and resolve their case.


Anything that either party says during mediation is kept confidential, as long as the parties agree to this upfront.  If a party admits fault or anything else against his or her interests, these statements cannot be used against a party later in a lawsuit.  This characteristic of mediation usually motivates parties to discuss the case more candidly.

Choosing a Mediator

The parties are free to choose a mediator of their liking.  If the parties are both represented by legal counsel, their lawyers may agree on a mediator.  They may choose a mediator they have used in the past.  They will look for someone with subject matter expertise and who is skilled at mediation.

Involvement of the Parties

Mediation is different from other areas of the law because the parties are intricately entwined in the process.  They each will have an opportunity to state their position in the case and communicate about why they think a particular settlement is appropriate.  The victim can discuss the impact of the injury on his or her life and the insurance adjuster or defendant can discuss mitigating factors.

Top Questions about Franchise Mediation Answered

Mediation is an effective form of alternative dispute resolution that allows parties in dispute to work together as partners. This process may be used in the context of franchise disagreements. Some of the questions that parties who are interested in this process may have include:

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is an informal process designed to help parties to a legal dispute resolve a problem without court intervention. The process uses the services of a neutral problem-solver who is trained in conflict resolution, the mediator. He or she helps guide the parties toward effective communication. While a mediator may make suggestions, he or she has no power to impose any orders on the parties. The parties are free to reach any agreement that they wish to make.

What Types of Disputes Can Franchise Mediation Resolve?

Franchise mediation can resolve nearly any legal dispute that arises within the context of a franchise relationship disagreement. As long as the parties are willing to submit their dispute to mediation, the mediator can help them tackle these issues. Some examples of common issues resolved through mediation include:

  • Impact of franchise
  • Encroachment issues
  • Concerns regarding lack of training or opportunity
  • Customer service concerns
  • Alleged under-reporting or other allegations of financial misconduct
  • Franchisee development rights
  • Renewal of franchise agreements
  • Modification of franchise agreements
  • Termination of franchise agreements

What Can I Get Out of Mediation?

Parties involved in mediation may underestimate the value of this process until they successfully resolve their dispute. Mediation provides ample benefits to parties. They learn to work together as a team and remain in control of decisions about their business and livelihood. They get to avoid expensive litigation that will likely sour any relationship. They also have the opportunity to craft customized solutions to their problems.

Human Rights Mediation 101

Mediation is an effective process that informally resolves cases that may result in litigation. This includes settling cases related to human rights violations including committing or permitting discrimination. An impartial third party helps the party resolves their dispute by leading the parties in conflict resolution tactics.

A mediator helps bridge communication between the parties and can explain the ground rules of civility and demonstrating mutual respect throughout the entire process. Rather than cementing their positions and engaging in arguments, the parties are encouraged to truly consider the other party’s position. This approach helps avoid the possibility of parties becoming entrenched in the dispute and failing to make progress throughout the process.

The parties who are involved in the dispute may or may not be represented by legal counsel. If the party has a lawyer, the lawyer’s role is much different than the mediator’s role. The mediator represents neither party while the lawyer represents his or her own client’s interests. Additionally, the lawyer may explain the potential consequences – good or bad – of accepting a particular settlement offer. The mediator may have a background in human rights law, civil rights or social work that he or she can use to develop a better understanding of the issues involved in the case. The participants can choose the mediator that they want to assist them with their case.

While the lawyer can play an important role in the mediation process, mediation is likely to be more effective when both parties are fully engaged in the process. Mediation is a voluntary process – the party cannot be forced to accept an offer or to participate in the process. Mediation begins with the agreement of the parties to try the process and to agree to participate in good faith with an open mind.