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There is a widespread belief that alternative dispute resolution methods, particularly mandatory binding arbitration agreements, have become the rule in health care delivery. This apparent trend has spurred vigorous debate about the merits of using such agreements. This study is an effort to ascertain how widespread mandatory arbitration agreements between health plans and providers and their enrollees and patients really are, to assess how decisions regarding their use are made, and to evaluate the prospects for their future use. This study found that contrary to popular belief, arbitration agreements are not widely used in the medical setting, and that when they are used, it is typically because organizational policy explicitly directs their use.

Originally published in: Law and Contemporary Problems, v. 60, no. 1, Winter 1997, pp. 153-179.

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