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Ronald Paterson

1998-99 Harkness Fellow Chief Advisor Ministry of Health in Wellington, New Zealand

Harkness Project Title: Patients’ Rights in Managed Care: An Evaluation of the Role of Statutory Protections

Mentor: Judith Feder, Ph.D.

Placement: Institute of Health Care Research and Policy, Georgetown University

Biography at time of Harkness Fellowship: Ronald J. Paterson, a 1998–99 Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy, is chief advisor at the Ministry of Health in Wellington, New Zealand, with responsibilities for advising on law and policy related to consumer protection, mental health, and public health. He is also a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland, where he teaches health care law and ethics to law and medical students; and serves as deputy director of the Research Unit for the Ethical and Legal Analysis of Health Care at the University of Auckland. His research interests include privacy of health information, rationing health care and human rights, and patients’ rights. He has written and published extensively in these areas. Mr. Paterson qualified in law in 1978 and practiced in Auckland; completed a Masters in Law at Oxford University in 1981; was a visiting professor of law at the Universities of Ottawa and British Columbia 1983-85; and joined the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland in 1986. He was Fulbright Visiting Professor of Biomedical Ethics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 1993; worked for the Northern Regional Health Authority in Auckland in 1994-95; and joined the Ministry of Health in 1996.

Project: The aim of Paterson’s project was to examine the implementation, and assess the early impact, of managed care consumer protections in four states – Missouri, New Jersey, Texas and Vermont – which had recently enacted significant reforms.  He reviewed published literature and policy documents, and interviewed key informants from regulators, health plans, provider groups, and consumer groups on their experiences and assessments of the consumer protections.

Career Activity Since Fellowship

  • New Zealand Ombudsman 2013-
  • Chair of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2010–13
  • New Zealand Health and Disability Commissioner 2000-2010
  • Chair in Law, University of Auckland, 2010
  • J. F. Northey Memorial Prize, for best book published in 2006 for Medical Law in New Zealand, 2007
  • New Zealand Health and Disability Commissioner, 2000
  • Deputy Director-General for Safety and Regulation, New Zealand Ministry of Health, 1999

Current Position: Chair in Law, University of Auckland. (Updated 1/2014)

E-Mail: [email protected]

Selected Publications

Paterson R. “The Good Doctor: What Patients Want.” Auckland University Press. 2012 June.

Paterson R, Adams J. “Professional burnout - a regulatory perspective.” N Z Med J. 2011 Apr 29;124(1333):40-6.

Paterson R. “Can we mandate compassion?” Hastings Cent Rep. 2011 Mar-Apr;41(2):20-3.

McLennan S, Paterson R, Skegg PD, Aickin R. “The use of CPR in New Zealand: is it always lawful?” N Z Med J. 2011 Jan 21;124(1328):106-12.

Paterson R. “The Cartwright legacy: shifting the focus of attention from the doctor to the patient.” N Z Med J. 2010 Jul 30;123(1319):6-10.

Paterson R. “Lessons from complaints: implications for medical education.” N Z Med J. 2010 May 14;123(1314):6-11.

Paterson R. “Medicolegal knowledge in New Zealand.” N Z Med J. 2009 Aug 7;122(1300):5-7.

Paterson R. “Inquiries into health care: learning or lynching?” N Z Med J. 2008 Nov 28;121(1286):100-15.

Bismark, M., Paterson, R.J., “No-Fault Compensation in New Zealand: Harmonizing Injury Compensation, Provider Accountability, and Patient Safety,” Health Affairs 2006; 25(1):278-283.

Patterson  R, Dallek G, Hadley E, Pollitz K, Tapay N. “Implementation of Managed Care Consumer Protections in Missouri, New Jersey, Texas and Vermont.” Kaiser Family Foundation, 75pp, 1999.

Bismark M, Dauer E, Paterson R, Studdert DM. “Medically Injured Patients Seek Monetary and Non-Monetary Forms of Accountability,” Canadian Medical Association Journal 2006; 175(8).

Bismark M, Brennan TA, Paterson RJ, Davis PB, Studdert DM. Relationship between Complaints and Quality of Care in New Zealand: a Descriptive Analysis of Complainants and Non-Complainants Following Adverse Events,” Quality and Safety in Health Care 2006; 15:17-22.

Paterson RJ. “Informed Consent in New Zealand: Medical Myths” The New Zealand Medical Journal 2003; 116(1183). 

Paterson RJ. “The Patients’ Complaints System in New ZealandHealth Affairs 2002; 21(3):71-79.

Paterson RJ. “Complaints – Toxic Treasure?” New Zealand GP 6 February 2002 p8.