Why Kaiser Permanente Members Must Participate in Arbitration
Kaiser Permanente is the largest managed healthcare organization in the United States. HMO members must utilize Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and doctors within Permanente Medical Groups. Being limited to the organization has both advantages and disadvantages. Kaiser Permanente’s 11.7 million customers are privy to 208,975 employees, 21,275 physicians, 54,072 nurses, 39 medical centers, and 720 medical facilities, all of which receive excellent reviews consistently. Unfortunately, should a patient experience medical malpractice, his or her compensation options are limited solely to arbitration.Arbitration vs. Trial
Most California residents have the opportunity for their case to be heard by a jury of their peers in a trial. Typically, the judge and the jury listen to both sides of the argument, the judge informs the jury members of the laws, and the jury members then determine whether or not the medical provider behaved negligently. If they find negligence, the jury also decides how much to award the claimant. Unfortunately, Kaiser Permanente requires a binding legal agreement that requires all malpractice concerns be settled through the arbitration process. In arbitration, one neutral arbitrator will hear both sides of the case and determine the outcome, rather than a jury.Benefits and Disadvantages
Jury trials are complicated, expensive, and lengthy processes. Arbitration can save both time and money, which helps everyone involved. However, many Kaiser Permanente members express concern that the arbitration process can compromise their claim as well as the amount of potential compensation. These fears have a valid foundation, as Kaiser Permanente pays either half or all of the cost of the neutral arbitrator. Although this person, usually an experienced attorney or retired judge, must adhere to California law, he or she is human and may want to be hired by Kaiser again in the future.How an Attorney Will Help
The arbitrator is not chosen directly by Kaiser Permanente, but rather as a joint effort between both the patient and Kaiser. There are many fair and genuinely neutral arbitrators available to choose from, and with the right strategy, a San Jose medical malpractice arbitration attorney can level the playing field, enabling you to have a fair outcome. Although patients have the opportunity to represent themselves, Kaiser always brings capable attorneys to the table; therefore, self-representation is not recommended.
The attorneys at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. have an extensive background of successfully navigating the arbitration process with Kaiser Permanente, earning our clients maximum compensation. We understand Kaiser’s methodologies and can help guide you through the discovery and arbitration processes and will get you back to the life you love with the compensation you deserve. Call us at (408) 289-1417 today for a free initial consultation to find out how we can help you with your case.Sources