Let’s talk for a moment about reputational risk. The below story is a great example of how this issue for corporate and certain individual clients operates in the era of Google and social media.
Before today, you had probably never heard of Mariner’s Hospital in the Florida Keys. Absent living or traveling to the Keys there was little reason to do so. It’s part of the Baptist Health South Florida system, a non-profit chain
But now you know they marked up a rabies immune globulin at an obscene rate, making an approximately $10,000 hospital bill top out at almost $50,000.00.
Mariners Hospital has now become the greedy face of the health crisis.
It Could Have Been Avoided
And they could have avoided it. Their spokesperson was contacted. I don’t know what happened internally, but I suspect that media and legal had little to no input in the response, which should have been not only nuanced to legal needs but also for the brand damage to the hospital.
Now when googled, this story will show. Plaintiff’s counsel has been given a leg up to examine bad billing practices and defense counsel an additional reason to push back on medical costs in a case.
And Mariners will never be able to unlink their name from abusive billing practices.
The Internet Is Forever
When a case heads into mediation pre-litigation, this is an issue I push on hard – because the Internet is forever. It isn’t just about settling the case in front of you but also dealing with the potential cases down the road. Smart handling from day one, including good internal practices when the media are sending you information requests, can save your client from financial damage.
And pre-litigation mediation can seal the deal.