July 16, 2012

California and Organizational Ombuds

Earlier this year, Kathy Biala, a consultant, RN, and Ombuds, launched a blog. Her latest entries discuss "three great reasons why California and organizational Ombudsman go hand-in-hand." 

Biala explains that California has three large systems that support Organizational Ombuds work: 
  1. The University of California educational system; 
  2. The California Worker’s Compensation Carve-Out Alternative Dispute Resolution; and 
  3. The Kaiser Permanente healthcare provider network. 
Biala recently began an externship with the UCSF Ombuds Office. (Milestone MMA Blog.) 

1 comment:

  1. I was the ombuds for these programs in the construction industry back when they were beginning. I admit my information may be old but the "Carve-Outs" in California, the last I heard, would not be organizational in nature.

    It is more of a "classical" role because the Project Labor Agreements I have seen did not allow injured workers to retain counsel during a dispute until the matter arbitrates.

    This is important because the ombuds is likely the only source of unbiased and neutral information relating to workers' comp processes and procedures that the injured worker or their families have access to.

    The problem in the past was that was that the ombuds often acted as advocate for the workers where some of the claims examiners of the insurance carriers, employers and contractors acted in their own best interests or tried to pull a fast one on the injured worker (it happens). Thus the ombuds would assert a into the dispute advocating for a standard of fairness and following the law.

    If the ombuds could not resolve the issue(s) at the ombuds level, then the the ombuds, who oversees mediator and arbitrator panels, sends the matter to mediation and if that does not work then the matter comes to an arbiter for resolution.

    The makeup and processes of these offices may have changed, and I hope they did but from my experience, this role was not then "organizational" in nature but fits the classical model better.

    Still, it is ombudsing! (gosh, am I saying that organizational ombuds are the true ombuds?!)Michael K

    PS: I could not get anything to work other than anonymous thus it is posted as such. m