Healthcare Role-Play:

Negotiating Budget Cuts at Newtowne Hospital


Lawrence Susskind

Six-person negotiation among hospital administration and employee representatives to reach consensus on budget cuts in three departments


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


Dr. Van Hagen, a distinguished heart surgeon, will soon join the staff at Newtowne Hospital, a 750 bed teaching institution. Although some staff members are elated and perceive the arrival of the doctor as an indication of the hospital’s coming-of-age, other staff members are in shock. Newtowne is already facing financial difficulties, including the fact that the annual wage increase for staff has not kept up with the cost-of-living. Now that the hospital has promised financial support to Dr. Van Hagen and his special staff, and will also fund his new equipment, Newtowne is going to have to cut $3.5 million from the rest of its budget. John Demars, the Chief Operating Officer, has met privately with five people who will serve as a budget advisory committee. The five members: the Chief of the Medical staff, Vice-President of Nursing, Chief Financial officer, Head of the Nurses Union, and president of the Hospital Workers Association all were a bit angry and worried about suggested cuts in their departmental budgets. Demars has asked the Advisory Committee to try to reach a consensus on the budget cuts. If no agreement is reached, the Chief Financial Officer will submit his own recommendation to the hospital Board of Directors.



  • Relationships: Relationships are a key issue in this case. In order to keep the hospital running smoothly, the players must remain accountable to their constituents while maintaining a good working rapport with each other.
  • Identifying 'success': During post-negotiation discussions, participants can take a close look at the different notions of a good outcome in each of the negotiating groups. did the parties try to accommodate each other's interest? What were the results when they did?
  • Interests vs. Positions: The parties must separate their interests from their positions, as well as the people from the problem in order to reach a consensus in a distributive bargaining situation. Reactions of the parties make this dispute difficult. The players are very concerned about their status within the hospital hierarchy, causing symbolic aspects of the negotiation to be quite important.



For all parties:

  • General Information
  • Budget Cutting Strategies Memorandum


Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for:

  • John Demars, Chief Operating Officer
  • Harry Baxter, Chief of the Medical Staff
  • Diana Antry, Vice-President of Nursing
  • Bob Carter, Financial Officer
  • Vickie Eaton, Head of the Nurses Union
  • Felicity Fulton, President of the Hospital Workers Association


Teacher's package:

  • All of the above
  • Results form
  • Teaching Note



Anchoring; Assumptions; Authority; BATNA; Closure; Commitment; Competition v. Cooperation; Compliance; Consensus Building; Constituents; Cost-benefits analysis; Cut-back planning; Fairness; Financial analysis; Group process; Health care management; Hospital administration; Internal budget negotiations; Interests, quantifying; Legitimacy; Linkage; Managing uncertainty; Meeting design; Message analysis; Objective criteria; Options, generating; Partisan perceptions; Preparation; Relationship; Reservation price; Risk perception; Systems of negotiation



Williams Medical Centre

Negotiating Budget Cuts at Newtowne Hospital Attributes

Time required: 2+ Hours
Number of participants: 6
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: None
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes
Non-English version available: German