Law Practice Management
Dealing With Disruptive Doctors May Offer Lessons to Law Firms
Posted May 5, 2008 12:34 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
So-called disruptive doctors—the kind who scream, criticize and otherwise make colleagues' lives miserable—can be effectively dealt with, a medical publication says. And, in an article that may be of interest to those who deal with lawyers with similar issues, it explains exactly how.
First, evaluate the problem, explains AIS's Health Business Daily, in a reprint of an article from Report on Medicare Compliance. Send e-mail surveys to the problem physician's colleagues, asking specific questions (examples are given in the article) to which they may respond anonymously.
Second, make the physician aware of the problem. Disruptive docs tend to be particularly responsive to criticism that couples recognition of their skills with an honest assessment of their personal issues. (For example: I can't stand working with you, but I would want you to treat my mother.)
Third, offer training that targets the specific problem that the physician has. Anger management, for instance, is the issue for some; others may need help with people skills or time management. Follow-up monitoring is also helpful, according to Larry Harmon, a Miami psychologist who runs such a program.
In addition to making the workplace more pleasant and productive for all concerned, dealing with disruptive doctors also can provide legal cost savings. That's because disruptive doctors, if unchecked, may go on to make frivolous complaints about the hospitals at which they work, according to the article.
"We are seeing this more and more," says attorney Henry Casale, of Horty, Springer & Mattern in Pittsburgh. "Disruptive physicians raise specious claims that have no validity in an attempt to justify their disruptive behavior. Hospitals want to know legitimate compliance concerns, but if there were never any underlying compliance concerns, then lodging fictitious complaints is just another act of disruptive behavior. It's a very difficult issue, being made more complex and being obfuscated by claims that the disruptive behavior is part of some whistle-blowing activity."