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Hospital system, doctors fail to resolve contract disputes

It requires much behind the scenes communications and negotiations to keep a hospital emergency department running as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, there are times an accord cannot be reached in employment contract disputes and as a result, negative consequences may result. It is likely that many Georgia businesses have had their own share of headaches associated with these types of negotiations.

When it comes to severe headaches, the Summa Hospital group may have had to endure one that seems never-ending. It has had a long-standing relationship with the Summa Emergency Associates to keep the group's ERs open and running smoothly. However, when it came time to renew the most recent contract, the two sides found themselves much farther apart than expected. The hospital system extended the standard three-year contract as usual. SEA countered with an offer for a 15-year contract with financial stipends included.

Since the terms requested by the emergency physicians group was outside the norm, the health system offered an extension of the current contract while the two sides worked to resolve the differences. That extension and several subsequent offers were refused by the physicians as the spokesperson stated that it was expected that the contract would be renewed in time. However, since the hospital system was unable to resolve the situation in a timely manner, it decided to enter into an agreement with another provider. The resulting fallout resulted in extended wait times for patients in the ER departments, and several hundred hospital workers signed a no-confidence letter regarding the hospital system.

Hospital administrators have vowed to stay the course and have also offered to take back some of the emergency care providers as long as they go through the newly contracted company. It is unclear if any of the physicians will elect to return under those conditions. Not all contract disputes have such a public fallout, but for the companies involved in them, the resulting headaches can have a negative impact on their finances. Georgia companies do have resources available who can provide valuable assistance in order to resolve these types of employment disputes as quickly as possible.  

Source:, "Parties in Summa dispute agree on little", Lydia Coutre, Jan. 15, 2017

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