At the end of February, 2013, the American Bar Association (ABA) Health Law Section hosted its Annual meeting, called the EMI. There were wonderful programs, networking and exchanges of ideas, as well as camaraderie.
One lively line of conversation was how to change healthcare delivery cultures, and meet the need for realignment and collaborations. Underneath this subject is an older, persistent question: “How should lawyers help clients handle the now 4 year old mandate to develop and practice conflict competence?” The subject has been discussed at the ABA and the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) for some years now but recognizing the answers is taking time.
How healthcare lawyers handle conflict management requirements is potentially different from how we read, analyze and otherwise engage with clients around other healthcare regulations. We need to engage with clients somewhat differently to lead their shift to the practice of conflict management; to do this, lawyers will benefit from understanding certain dynamics of conflict itself and how to use certain conflict management/mediation skills.
This will continue to be discussed at ABA and AHLA programs, and we health lawyers need to focus time and attention on it.