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Arbitration agreements with new patients?

roastedcapers

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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.
 

Bartelby

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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).
 

birchswing

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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.
 
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TexasPhysician

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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.
 
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Candidate2017

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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?
 
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