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First Substitute S.B. 245

Senator Leonard M. Blackham proposes the following substitute bill:





Sponsor: Leonard M. Blackham

             6      L. Alma Mansell
             7      Peter C. KnudsonThomas V. Hatch
David L. ThomasCarlene M. Walker              8     
             9      LONG TITLE
             10      General Description:
             11          This bill amends provisions related to the resolution of medical malpractice disputes.
             12      Highlighted Provisions:
             13          This bill:
             14          .    requires notice to a patient regarding:
             15              .    the patient's right to legal counsel in any arbitration proceeding; and
             16              .    an arbitration agreement may not apply to errors and omissions that occurred
             17      prior to the date of the arbitration agreement without a specific agreement from
             18      the patient;
             19          .    changes the time for rescinding an arbitration agreement from 30 days to ten days;
             20          .    clarifies that medical arbitration agreements are subject to the Uniform Arbitration
             21      Act;
             22          .    provides that a patient may require:
             23              .    mandatory mediation before arbitration;
             24              .    retention of jointly selected arbitrators for both the liability and damages part of
             25      arbitration when they are bifurcated; and

             26              .    the filing of an arbitration award in district court; and
             27          .    prohibits a health care provider from denying health care to a patient on the sole
             28      basis that the patient refused to sign an arbitration agreement.
             29      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             30          None
             31      Other Special Clauses:
             32          None
             33      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             34      AMENDS:
             35          78-14-17, as last amended by Chapter 207, Laws of Utah 2003
             37      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             38          Section 1. Section 78-14-17 is amended to read:
             39           78-14-17. Arbitration agreements.
             40          (1) After May 2, 1999, for a binding arbitration agreement between a patient and a
             41      health care provider to be validly executed or, if the requirements of this Subsection (1) have
             42      not been previously met on at least one occasion, renewed:
             43          (a) the patient shall be given, in writing [and by verbal explanation], the following
             44      information on:
             45          (i) the requirement that the patient must arbitrate a claim instead of having the claim
             46      heard by a judge or jury;
             47          (ii) the role of an arbitrator and the manner in which arbitrators are selected under the
             48      agreement;
             49          (iii) the patient's responsibility, if any, for arbitration-related costs under the agreement;
             50          (iv) the right of the patient to decline to enter into the agreement and still receive health
             51      care if Subsection [(2)] (3) applies;
             52          (v) the automatic renewal of the agreement each year unless the agreement is canceled
             53      in writing before the renewal date;
             54          (vi) the right of the patient to have questions about the arbitration agreement answered;
             55      [and]
             56          (vii) the right of the patient to rescind the agreement within [30] ten days of signing the

             57      agreement; and
             58          (viii) the right of the patient to require mediation of the dispute prior to the arbitration
             59      of the dispute;
             60          (b) the agreement shall require that:
             61          (i) except as provided in Subsection (1)(b)(ii), a panel of three arbitrators shall be
             62      selected as follows:
             63          (A) one arbitrator [be] collectively selected by all persons claiming damages;
             64          [(ii)] (B) one arbitrator [be] selected by the health care provider; and
             65          [(iii)] (C) a third arbitrator [be] jointly selected by all persons claiming damages and
             66      the health care provider from a list of individuals approved as arbitrators by the state or federal
             67      courts of Utah; or
             68          (ii) if both parties agree, a single arbitrator may be selected;
             69          [(iv)] (iii) all parties waive the requirement of Section 78-14-12 to appear before a
             70      hearing panel in a malpractice action against a health care provider;
             71          [(v)] (iv) the patient be given the right to rescind the agreement within [30] ten days of
             72      signing the agreement; [and]
             73          [(vi)] (v) the term of the agreement be for one year and that the agreement be
             74      automatically renewed each year unless the agreement is canceled in writing by the patient or
             75      health care provider before the renewal date[.];
             76          (vi) the patient has the right to retain legal counsel;
             77          (vii) the agreement only apply to:
             78          (A) an error or omission that occurred after the agreement was signed, provided that
             79      the agreement may allow a person who would be a proper party in court to participate in an
             80      arbitration proceeding;
             81          (B) the claim of:
             82          (I) a person who signed the agreement;
             83          (II) a person on whose behalf the agreement was signed under Subsection (6); and
             84          (III) the unborn child of the person described in this Subsection (1)(b)(vii)(B), for 12
             85      months from the date the agreement is signed; and
             86          (C) the claim of a person who is not a party to the contract if the sole basis for the
             87      claim is an injury sustained by a person described in Subsection (1)(b)(vii)(B); and

             88          (c) the patient shall be verbally encouraged to:
             89          (i) read the written information required by Subsection (1)(a) and the arbitration
             90      agreement; and
             91          (ii) ask any questions.
             92          (2) When a medical malpractice action is arbitrated, the action shall:
             93          (a) be subject to Chapter 31a, Utah Uniform Arbitration Act; and
             94          (b) include any one or more of the following when requested by the patient before an
             95      arbitration hearing is commenced:
             96          (i) mandatory mediation;
             97          (ii) retention of the jointly selected arbitrator for both the liability and damages stages
             98      of an arbitration proceeding if the arbitration is bifurcated; and
             99          (iii) the filing of the panel's award of damages as a judgement against the provider in
             100      the appropriate district court.
             101          [(2)] (3) Notwithstanding Subsection (1), a patient may not be denied health care [of
             102      any kind from the emergency department of a general acute hospital, as defined in Section
             103      26-21-2 ,] on the sole basis that the patient or a person described in Subsection [(5)] (6) refused
             104      to enter into a binding arbitration agreement with a health care provider.
             105          [(3)] (4) A written acknowledgment of having received a written [and verbal]
             106      explanation of a binding arbitration agreement signed by or on behalf of the patient shall be a
             107      defense to a claim that the patient did not receive a written [and verbal] explanation of the
             108      agreement as required by Subsection (1) unless the patient:
             109          (a) proves that the person who signed the agreement lacked the capacity to do so; or
             110          (b) shows by clear and convincing evidence that the execution of the agreement was
             111      induced by the health care provider's affirmative acts of fraudulent misrepresentation or
             112      fraudulent omission to state material facts.
             113          [(4)] (5) The requirements of Subsection (1) do not apply to a claim governed by a
             114      binding arbitration agreement that was executed or renewed before May 3, 1999.
             115          [(5)] (6) A legal guardian or a person described in Subsection 78-14-5 (4), except a
             116      person temporarily standing in loco parentis, may execute or rescind a binding arbitration
             117      agreement on behalf of a patient.
             118          [(6)] (7) This section does not apply to any arbitration agreement that is subject to the

             119      Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. Sec. 1 et seq.

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