Program On Healthcare – Consumer ADR In Philadelphia

October 14, 2008

     I heard from Jean Hemphill, Chair of the Health Care Group at Ballard Spahr, that she will be among the speakers at a free seminar on Thursday, October 16, 2008, entitled: “Arbitration of Health Care Claims Seminar: Reducing Malpractice Exposure and Maximizing Your Collections.”  The program will be held from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Marriott West in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

     Other speakers scheduled to appear include Ballard Spahr partners Alan S. Kaplinsky and Jeremy T. Rosenblum, former Duke University General Counsel David Adcock, Keith Maurer and Aaron Rose of National Arbitration Forum spin-off Forthright, and Deborah Lorber, Director of Risk Management, Drexel University College of Medicine.  The agenda promises to “explain how arbitration of malpractice and billing claims can radically reduce malpractice exposure, increase success in collecting on delinquent accounts, and improve patient relations.”

     This seminar appears poised to argue the other side of the debate raised by current legislative efforts to ban pre-dispute arbitration agreements between healthcare providers and patients, particularly in the nursing home context.  That debate should go on, but it will be important for both sides to consider alternatives other than an “all or nothing” result.  Among the issues in play:

– Should agreements to arbitrate consumer/patient bills for services rendered be given the same status as agreements to arbitrate claims of medical malpractice?  Should different rules apply?

– Can steps be taken to assure that patients and their families truly understand the meaning of arbitration agreements upon the initiation of a healthcare service, with enforcement of the arbitration agreement being dependent upon adherence to some “industry standard” measures?

– Can healthcare providers and ADR professionals do more to assure the neutrality of mandated ADR processes, and in particular, nullify the perceived advantage of “repeat users” of ADR services?

     If you will be anywhere near Philadelphia this Thursday, consider preregistering via the Ballard Spahr website, and see if the presenters at this program address these questions.  You can share your impressions by leaving a comment on this post below.

[Image: Geno\’s Steaks at dusk, Philadelphia, PA, by Bobak Ha\’Eri, April 19, 2007]