This application, submitted at the same time as insurance forms and medical records, invites patients to waive their right to a jury. In the event of a dispute, an outsider hears evidence, makes a decision and, if necessary, determines damages. In such cases, the decision is made to limit the future possibilities of misconduct even before the doctor has laid eyes – let alone hands – on the patient. The doctor-patient relationship is by nature contractual; a doctor agrees to treat in exchange for a payment for services. A contractual strategy to deal with the risk of medical malpractice lawsuits is to sign arbitration agreements with patients. Here we look at the existing legislation that governs these agreements. The likely costs of patients can also determine whether arbitration is fair or unacceptable. In some circumstances, part of the cost of arbitration for patients must be borne by the health care provider. In other countries, an arbitration procedure must be available for patients in need at no cost. The pricing plans of most major arbitration service providers, including the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), reflect the guidelines established by the courts. The U.S.
Supreme Court has recognized the NAF procedural settlement as a model for an equitable distribution of costs and royalties. These examples of scenarios are provided to illustrate the complex legal precedent of arbitration invalids in cases of medical malpractice. Each case is different, and you should consult an experienced medical misconduct lawyer to see if you have a right. The question asked, but unresolved, is: what is LEGAL AUTHORITY to propose that a physician be able to compel a patient to renounce a “fundamental” constitutional right as a precondition for medical care? In general, arbitration is not as patient-friendly as a jury. In most cases, an arbitration procedure operates very similarly to the court. However, there is no assurance that the arbitrator will be able to consistently comply with the rules of evidence and procedure that contribute to fair hearings on the final subject. Nor is there any guarantee that the arbitrator will be impartial. Arbitration generally does not take place in a public forum. It allows careless health care professionals to sweep their mistakes under the carpet and keep them out of an open courtroom.
For these reasons, O`Keefe, among others, generally advises clients not to sign arbitration agreements. I didn`t want to sign this arbitration form, but I thought, “If I don`t sign, will this doctor treat me?” I went to the waiting room counter and politely asked if I should sign the arbitration agreement. The pleasant woman said, “No, it`s optional,” and continued to draw a large “X” on the form. These forms are becoming more common in California. It started with my gynecologist, and now almost every medical practice I go to has one. I do not understand how it is legal to force someone to sign their right to a trial or to deny them medical care. That sounds ridiculous. In the meantime, I have decided that by the time I make an appointment, I need medical formals, and if they contain this waste, I will cancel and go somewhere else. Because arbitration procedures are confidential, large organizations such as hospitals and long-term care facilities prioritize the process over traditional litigation to protect their reputations. Arbitration agreements are not always easy to identify and can be given to patients and residents cared for in a variety of scenarios: I think the association`s quote on the need for this change sums up the problem perfectly.