The State of Defensive Medicine, Part IV: Medical Malpractice Alternative Dispute Systems: Can they Work?

Part four of our interview series with Dr. Richard Anderson, Chairman and CEO of The Doctors Company, addresses alternatives to the current medical malpractice system, including mediation and arbitration and specialized health courts. Dr. Anderson points out that “More than 80 percent of all medical malpractice claims close with no indemnity payment… anything that would reduce the onslaught of unnecessary litigation would be a major reform.” However, it is difficult to determine which reforms would be the most effective in addressing this issue.

Mediation and arbitration could help to resolve physician-patient disputes through allowing a forum for both sides to discuss issues. But, these alternative resolution systems bring up their own set of questions and problems, including who will serve as the mediator or arbitrator and whether there would be a right to appeal the results, which could still lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit. Specialized healthcare courts offer another possibility, but would require an entirely new court system to be developed. However, these courts could also help to establish clear-cut precedents and standards of care that would be easier for physicians to follow. See below to watch Part IV of the interview. For the full interview, click here.


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