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Healthcare Arbitration Is Faster Than Going To Court

December 20, 2019

Speed is one of the primary advantages of resolving a healthcare dispute by arbitration rather than through the courts. Speed is a good thing. It minimizes the time the parties spend under the stress and uncertainty of the process. It also shrinks the distance between the harm claimed and the remedy. Secondary to speed are the cost savings usually associated with a shorter and more efficient process. 

Research announced by the American Arbitration Association bears out the claim that healthcare arbitration is faster than litigation in the courts. A study (based on 2016 data) comparing AAA healthcare claims resolved through arbitration to federal district court cases resolved after trial revealed a substantially shorter time required for arbitration. The median time needed in the federal courts was 24.9 months. For AAA Commercial Claims, the median period was 16.8 months, with a quickest of 3.9 months. For AAA Payor – Provider Claims, the median was 15.9 months, with a quickest of 7.2 months.

To be sure, results may vary, and arbitration has come under criticism in some settings for becoming more and more like litigation. But unlike litigation in the courts, the efficiency and pace of arbitration is within the control of the arbitrator and the parties. The effort by the AAA to encourage “muscular arbitration” beginning eight years ago continues to bear fruit. Most arbitrators, including me, assume that the parties chose arbitration because they wanted it to be faster and more efficient. The AAA’s research shows they can get that result.

(Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash)

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