Published on Nov 10, 2006

DMC, Wayne State agree to mediation
Granholm urged both sides to meet with lawyer


November 10, 2006

With urging from Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University will head back to the bargaining table with a mediator in an attempt to settle a contract dispute that threatens to end programs that turn out the largest number of Michigan doctors.

According to a statement released Friday morning by the boards of the DMC and WSU’s School of Medicine, Granholm contacted both organizations earlier this week to extend an offer of mediation assistance. The two sides held a second joint meeting in as many weeks on Thursday evening and agreed to mediation.

Mediation proceedings will be conducted by David H. Fink, who between 2002 and 2005 served in Granholm’s cabinet as director of the office of state employer before going back to private practice at Rochester-based law firm Miller Shea PC.

“The boards remain optimistic that with his assistance, an agreement will be reached,” the joint statement said about getting assistance from the mediator.

The DMC and WSU, which recently have been mum about negotiations, declined to comment further.

Fink, a prominent local lawyer who was involved in important union negotiations during his time under Granholm’s administration, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The DMC and WSU, which jointly operate about 70 medical residency programs that give graduate medical students hands-on training in special areas of practice, have been disputing terms of a contract that expires on Dec. 31. Together, their programs provide health care to many of the region’s poorest residents.

The two sides have been fighting over how doctors should be compensated for duties they perform at the DMC and whether they should be allowed to participate in business ventures that might compete with DMC interests.

But the Accreditation Countil for Graudate Medical Education, the group that accredits medical programs, said it expects a contract by Tuesday, a deadline that if not met can mean the end to medical residency programs the DMC and WSU jointly operate. Such an ending would cost the two organizations 900 medical residents and many of the 700 physicians who train them, and deal a devastating blow o Michigan’s health care system, which is already suffering from a shortage of doctors.

Copyright © 2006 Detroit Free Press Inc.

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