• Funniest Story on the Job Contest Starts Now!

    Contest starts now and ends September 27th. Winner will receive a special user banner and $10 Amazon Gift card!

  • Site Updates Coming Next Week

    Site updates are coming next week on Monday and Friday. Click the button below to learn more!


Arbitration agreements with new patients?


Full Member
2+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2019
  1. Non-Student
Hey, so, I recently went to an initial appointment with a psychiatrist. I was shocked to see an arbitration agreement. I mean, I see where ethically this makes sense given all the problems and unnecessary expenses with malpractice suits, but, an arbitration agreement for a medical service? Has anyone see this before? As I private practice owner, can I start using these?? I thought it was an interesting conversation to start.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2007
  1. Attending Physician
Looking it up I found this article, Physician-patient arbitration agreements: Make sure they are understood by all, it seems like an arbitration agreement can be valid but there are some exceptions.

For example, if the patient were to die a family member who sues as next of kin is not bound by the arbitration agreement. You also cannot require that the patient sign the arbitration agreement as a precondition to treatment.

I am surprised this is a topic that has not received more attention (I haven't really thought about this before this post).


7+ Year Member
Nov 17, 2011
If it were me, I'd find another doctor. Not having thought it out, but just as a gut instinct. I can never in a million years envision myself suing. Seems very complicated and very expensive and like it would take a physical/mental fortitude I don't have. So it's not about that at all. I've dropped out of college courses before they started for similar red flags on a professor's syllabus where I could tell they were going to be, as sometimes used to be thrown around here, "axis II" (don't mean that literally). Again, it wasn't about any specific rules etc, but just the type of attitude or difficulties they've had in the past that they're bringing into it. It's like with relationships. It shouldn't be hard at the beginning. I don't picture starting out with friction and it getting better.
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads


Full Member
Volunteer Staff
10+ Year Member
Sep 1, 2008
  1. Attending Physician
Arbitration agreements work best for large companies that would have a negative jury perception. It could actually be more expensive for private practices.

Arbitration in my state typically involves each side picking 1 arbitrator and then both arbitrators agree to a 3rd. 3 arbitrators work to find a common ground. This may be to the detriment of the doctor as common ground may mean a % of fault. In a court, it is often all or nothing outside of a settlement. In addition, the losing side may be required to pay all 3 arbitrators.
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users


Full Member
2+ Year Member
Oct 14, 2016
I'd imagine malpractice insurance is more beneficial than arbitration. Legal standards are higher for malpractice, whereas arbitration is about what's "fair" in cases like employment, divorce, car sales.

It would probably be easy to get an arbitration agreement voided. The public, politicians, and courts view the psychiatrist-patient relationship as an extra special, unequal power dynamic. See all the laws and rules that apply only to psychiatrists. And how are you going to tell a judge/jury that someone who sought help from you for a functional impairment such as MDD can voluntarily sign an arbitration agreement, without looking like an idiot who will be judged harshly?
About the Ads
This thread is more than 1 year old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.