HEALTH CLAIMS ARBITRATION OFFICE

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS


The Health Claims Arbitration Office was established in 1976 (Chapter 235, Acts of 1976). For any person asserting a medical injury claim against a health care provider for damages in excess of $25,000, the claim must be filed with the Office.

The Director notifies all affected parties and supplies a list of qualified arbitrators, six from each of three categories: 1) attorneys; 2) health care providers; and 3) persons from the general public who are neither attorneys, health care providers, nor in the employ of insurance interests.

From each category, one mutually agreed upon arbitrator is chosen to sit on a three-person arbitration panel. That panel determines who is liable with respect to the claim and, if a health care provider is liable, considers and assesses damages. The panel decision is final, unless rejected by any party. To reverse or modify the award, the rejecting party must file an appeal with the circuit court.

Any party wishing to waive the arbitration process and proceed at the circuit court level may file an election to waive arbitration and file a complaint at the appropriate circuit court.

As of October 1, 1999, the courts may refer health care malpractice claims to the Health Claims Arbitration Office for the purpose of neutral case evaluation if the parties mutually agree (Chapter 458, Acts of 1999). The Director supplies a list of qualified neutral case evaluators to all parties. During the neutral case evaluation period, the circuit court maintains jurisdiction.

The Director is appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent (Code Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, sec. 3-2A-03).

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2000

July 18, 2000   
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