As an administrator, you will be engaged in overseeing and negotiating contracts with employees and contractors. The legal issues that might arise are wide-ranging. You may need to resolve problems when contractual rights are apparently breached. Many health care organizations have employees who are union members, and consequently, you may need to deal with union representatives working on behalf of many of your employees. Your organization may also recruit foreign nurses or other health care professionals, and this may involve you in legal issues specific to their immigration and credentialing status.
To gain a better understanding of the legal issues involved in contracts, you are asked in this Discussion to do research on recent contract or union disputes in health care, analyzing one case in particular and sharing your analysis with your colleagues.
One example is the appeals case of Virginia Mason Hospital v. Washington State Nurses (listed in the Optional Resources this week). This case involves a nurses’ union that objected to a mandatory flu vaccination. Here, the legal issue is whether such a requirement may be imposed unilaterally by management, or whether it must be bargained over under the union contract. There are also important ethical issues, pitting concerns about patient safety against the harm of coercing workers.
To prepare for this Discussion:
•Identify at least one legal case, journal article, or detailed news article describing a legal dispute involving a contractual issue. This dispute may involve an individual health care provider or a union. (Do not use Virginia Mason Hospital v. Washington State Nurses, but you may select a dispute similar to it.)
•Analyze the situation in light of the laws involving contracts and/or labor relations that you read about this week in your Learning Resources.
•Consider any ethical issues raised by this case. Do you find any conflicts between what is legally and ethically appropriate to do in this situation?
•Reflect on how you, as a health care administrator, would want to handle this situation so that you meet your legal and ethical obligations to your employees as well as to your organization.
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