Medical arbitration in a group practice setting

Malpractice claims and suits have been increasing in frequency for the past decade and these have had a decided impact on health care practices and costs, on malpractice insurance availability and costs, on modes of processing claims through our legal system, and on the attitudes of the public toward the delivery of health care in general. The perceived magnitude of this situation has provided the health care industry with an incentive for experimentation with innumerable concepts which have proven of benefit in resolving conflicts within the business industry. Arbitration is one of those concepts. Arbitration is not new to the health care industry. Since 1931 Roos-Loos has used arbitration as an alternative to court litigation, Kaiser Health Plan has had arbitration, and more recently, the California Medical Association and the California Hospital Association implemented an arbitration project at several hospitals in Southern California. However, to date, the arbitration agreement has not been initiated and monitored in a private group practice fee-for-service setting. This project is an attempt to institute the arbitration agreement into such a setting. Although the findings of the project may not be generalized conclusively to other group practice settings, it is the author's ardent hope that this project will establish the concept of arbitration as one worthy of more active pursuance as a feasible, credible medium for employment in the clinic environment to resolve malpractice claims and suits.