Employed physicians often are afraid to dispute grievances with their hospital and medical group because of the cost and anxiety related to a major disagreement. For instance, when a physician is terminated by his group many issues are on the table: compensation, benefits, malpractice insurance, restrictive covenants and confidentiality to name a few.

In previous blogs I have written that physicians should aggressively protect their rights and benefits when they are fired, disciplined or are experiencing an employer’s unfair tactics. A good way to proceed is to mediate.

Mediation is one of the forms of what is known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The other forms of ADR are negotiation and arbitration. In negotiation the parties attempt to settle their dispute between themselves; in arbitration the parties hire a third person or panel to make a binding decision for them; in mediation the parties hire a neutral third person to assist them in settling their dispute. In arbitration and mediation the parties each have their own attorney.

The least expensive ADR form is negotiation. Mediation is the second least expensive. The parties must pay the mediator and their own attorney, but if both parties agree to mediate it is often possible to obtain some agreement on disputed issues.

Negotiation and arbitration can often drag on for months, if not years; and they can be extremely exhausting and expensive. Mediation, on the other hand, can resolve a conflict very quickly and be relatively inexpensive. I have seen many a mediation take only one day; and with both parties being reasonably satisfied. Generally they voluntarily execute a written agreement between themselves.