From Rich Webb’s Healthcare Neutral ADR Blog.
In addition to providing alternative dispute resolution services, Richard J .Webb practices law as Richard J. Webb, LLC. He has been engaged in the private practice of law in New Jersey since 1978, focusing on the healthcare industry for the last 27 years. Before starting his own firm he was a senior partner in the Healthcare Practice Group of McCarter & English, L.L.P., a regional law firm of over 400 attorneys. Mr. Webb’s legal practice is currently limited to serving as outside general counsel to several hospital-health systems. In that role, he handles the full range of operational, transactional and strategic legal issues presented by such organizations.
Mr. Webb is a graduate of Yale University (B.A., cum laude, 1975) and the Duke University School of Law (J.D. 1978). His additional alternative dispute resolution training currently amounts to 193 hours of classroom time, including 60 hours of advanced mediation courses at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He has received a peer review rating of AV from Martindale-Hubbell, and has been recognized as a New Jersey SuperLawyer in the field of healthcare law.
I just read an excellent article on the decision process for in-house corporate counsel considering self-disclosure of a regulatory infraction. Richard Marshall’s piece in Corporate Counsel, aptly titled “Uuuhhh, Look, We Messed Up Here,” provides solid, practical advice that applies to the healthcare industry as well as the more general business audience for whom it was written.
At the heart of any effective self-disclosure are the same elements often associated with effective apologies in the healthcare malpractice setting. As with patients and families who have suffered harm, just saying “I’m sorry” to a regulator is not enough. The healthcare provider in both cases must offer an explanation of what happened; proof that corrective measures have been taken; appropriate compensation for any harm caused; and a sincere acknowledgment of responsibility.
Having taken these steps, the self-disclosing provider has framed the discussion of future regulatory compliance in a more favorable way. Although a regulator receiving such self-disclosure will not be legally bound to approve a fair and reasonable resolution, most will.