Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a faster and less expensive option for solving disagreements comparing to a traditional litigation. ADR includes arbitration, mediation, conciliation, minitrial, fact-finding, and a judicial referee (Cheeseman, 2004). Alternative Dispute Resolution has not been widely used in health care at this point, but its use is increasing (Mazadoorian, 2007).
Arbitration is one of most common form of ADR in business environment. Two parties agreed on Arbitration select a neutral arbitrator who hears evidence and testimony from both sides. At the end of the hearings that are less formal than court proceedings, the arbitrator decides on an award (Cheeseman, 2004). The parties can agree in advance that they will accept the decision of the arbitrator. Sometimes, contracts include a specific clause that requires arbitration as a method of conflict resolution, rather than litigation. Many companies, including UnitedHealth Group, make agreement to ADR in the case of the dispute a part of employment contract.
If a binding agreement to use arbitration rather than litigation took place, the decision of the arbitrator is final. However, if the parties did not have a specific agreement to accept the arbitrator's decision in advance, the case can be appealed in court. The court usually considers arbitrator's decision as an important opinion in the case (Cheeseman, 2004). Depending on the type of the dispute, the decision can be appealed at a state or federal court and proceed to the Supreme Court. However, the probability of the Supreme Court deciding to hear the case is relatively low.
Health care organization sometimes could require patients to sign mandatory binding arbitration agreements before any medical services can be provided (Don't coerce patients, 2004). If this kind of agreement signed, patients loose their right to sue the organization or physicians for any possible medical malpractice. However, this...