The author is an attorney with the firm of Baldwin and Hess in St. Louis, and a member of the AAA's St. Louis Healthcare Claims Committee. He is currently serving his second term as chairman of the ADR committee of the metropolitan St. Louis Bar Association.
The St. Louis Healthcare Claims Committee of the American Arbitration Associationl, in conjunction with ARCH (Alternative Resolution to the Court House), has examined the need for alternative methods of resolving disputes between physicians and their patients. The committee agreed that alternatives to litigation, particularly mediation, were appropriate. Accordingly, the committee decided to develop a pilot mediation program to be offered by local hospitals and their staff physicians.
In order to see how disputes between physicians and their patients develop and to better understand how those disputes might be resolved at a minimum cost,2 it is appropriate to explore what each party brings to the physician-patient relationship.