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Brooks Schuelke
Brooks Schuelke
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Many Doctors Requiring Arbitration Agreements

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In a disturbing new trend, many doctors and other medical groups are requiring patients to enter into arbitration agreements prior to the doctors providing medical care. There are many problems with pre-dispute arbitration agreements, and the biggest in my mind is that the patient is giving up rights without the benefit of counsel. Most people don’t know that arbitration can be as expensive as litigation. Most people don’t know what rights they are giving up when they sign arbitration agreements. Most people don’t know what procedures will be used in the arbitration. Most people don’t know that there is a difference between the organizations used to conduct the arbitration. The doctor that had the agreement drafted by its counsel gets the benefits of advice on these issues. The patient doesn’t.

I am not opposed to arbitration per se. But I believe that an arbitration agreement should be carefully tailored to the dispute. That can’t happen if the arbitration agreement is signed in advance of the dispute without any advice being provided to the patient.

I have previously written about arbitration in the medical malpractice context here. Other links of interest on this topic include:

Healthcare Neutral ADR Blog