A federal appeals court has helped doctors who are suing managed care companies over provider contracts.[@@]
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta issued an order Friday that could prevent the managed care companies from forcing the doctors into arbitration.
The managed care companies have been trying to require the doctors to resolve many of their claims about contract problems, such as racketeering, through arbitration.
“Broad arbitration clauses cannot be extended to compel parties to arbitrate disputes they have not agreed to arbitrate,” U.S. Circuit Court Judge Stanley Birch Jr. writes in an opinion explaining the 11th Circuit order.
The ruling, which appears on the 11th Circuit Web site under the style Leonard J. Klay et al. vs. All Defendants et al., upholds an earlier ruling by U.S. District Federico Moreno of Miami.
The litigation affected was part of a wave of suits against health maintenance organizations and other managed care companies that were filed around the country starting in late 1999. A panel of federal judges transferred some of the cases to the Miami district court, which was already handling a similar case of its own, in October 2000.
Moreno, the U.S. District judge in Miami, moved in 2002 to certify a class that included a class of 600,000 U.S. doctors.