Monday, February 2, 2009

Musings on Organizational Ethics

Rosemary Flanigan
February 1, 2009

At any minute, Hans will be e-mailing me that I’m committing a FALLACY (“composition and division”, we used to call it)—but I have been thinking of the role of the ethics committee and of MEMBERS of the ethics committee (no, Hans, I do not expect of the members what I expect of the whole—but. . . .) regarding organizational ethics.

In the document, “Core Competencies for Health Care Ethics Consultation,” credit is given to Myra for her comments on an early version of the section on Organizational Ethics and she and Robert Potter, MD have written extensively on the subject. (Robert edited a whole edition of HEC Forum on the topic.)

So over the week-end I thought about us in the ethics committee movement and wondered how we were doing in this regard.

The areas are broad (health care business—cost shifting and billing practices; interactions with the marketplace—endorsing products, market promotion; societal and public health obligations; institutional obligations in training future healthcare providers or in performing research; and general business issues) and the ability to handle them requires a new kind of education.

The report concludes, “We encourage additional efforts, including both empirical and conceptual research, to define more clearly the scope of organizational ethics consultation; the most effective and efficient organizational structures for its delivery. . .; the degree to which it should include preemptive, unsolicited interventions; the appropriate approaches for dealing with organizational ethics issue; and the knowledge and experience that it demands.”

Can you give me any examples of such “empirical and conceptual research”??? HELP! Thanks.

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