2016 Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 13 - Courts and Court Procedure
Judgments and Executions
Article 64 - Health Care Availability Act
Part 4 - Procedures and Evidence in Medical Malpractice Actions
§ 13-64-403. Agreement for medical services - alternative arbitration procedures - form of agreement - right to rescind
(1) It is the intent of the general assembly that an arbitration agreement be a voluntary agreement between a patient and a health care provider and no medical malpractice insurer shall require a health care provider to utilize arbitration agreements as a condition of providing medical malpractice insurance to such health care provider. Making the use of arbitration agreements a condition to the provision of medical malpractice insurance shall constitute an unfair insurance practice and shall be subject to the provisions, remedies, and penalties prescribed in part 11 of article 3 of title 10, C.R.S.
(1.5) Exemplary damages may be awarded in any arbitration proceeding held pursuant to this section in accordance with section 13-21-102 (1) to (3) and (6). Any award of exemplary damages in a proceeding held pursuant to this section may be modified by the district court upon petition to the district court alleging that the award of such damages was either excessive or inadequate.
(2) Any agreement for the provision of medical services which contains a provision for binding arbitration of any dispute as to professional negligence of a health care provider that conforms to the provisions of this section shall not be deemed contrary to the public policy of this state, except as provided in subsection (10) of this section.
(3) Any such agreement shall have the following statement set forth as part of the agreement: "It is understood that any claim of medical malpractice, including any claim that medical services were unnecessary or unauthorized or were improperly, negligently, or incompetently rendered or omitted, will be determined by submission to binding arbitration in accordance with the provisions of part 2 of article 22 of this title, and not by a lawsuit or resort to court process except as Colorado law provides for judicial review of arbitration proceedings. The patient has the right to seek legal counsel concerning this agreement, and has the right to rescind this agreement by written notice to the physician within ninety days after the agreement has been signed and executed by both parties unless said agreement was signed in contemplation of the patient being hospitalized, in which case the agreement may be rescinded by written notice to the physician within ninety days after release or discharge from the hospital or other health care institution. Both parties to this agreement, by entering into it, have agreed to the use of binding arbitration in lieu of having any such dispute decided in a court of law before a jury."
(4) Immediately preceding the signature lines for such an agreement, the following notice shall be printed in at least ten-point, bold-faced type:
NOTE: BY SIGNING THIS AGREEMENT YOU ARE AGREEING TO HAVE ANY ISSUE OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE DECIDED BY NEUTRAL BINDING ARBITRATION RATHER THAN BY A JURY OR COURT TRIAL.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK LEGAL COUNSEL AND YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO RESCIND THIS AGREEMENT WITHIN NINETY DAYS FROM THE DATE OF SIGNATURE BY BOTH PARTIES UNLESS THE AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED IN CONTEMPLATION OF HOSPITALIZATION IN WHICH CASE YOU HAVE NINETY DAYS AFTER DISCHARGE OR RELEASE FROM THE HOSPITAL TO RESCIND THE AGREEMENT.
NO HEALTH CARE PROVIDER SHALL WITHHOLD THE PROVISION OF EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES TO ANY PERSON BECAUSE OF THAT PERSON'S FAILURE OR REFUSAL TO SIGN AN AGREEMENT CONTAINING A PROVISION FOR BINDING ARBITRATION OF ANY DISPUTE ARISING AS TO PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE OF THE PROVIDER.
NO HEALTH CARE PROVIDER SHALL REFUSE TO PROVIDE MEDICAL CARE SERVICES TO ANY PATIENT SOLELY BECAUSE SUCH PATIENT REFUSED TO SIGN SUCH AN AGREEMENT OR EXERCISED THE NINETY-DAY RIGHT OF RESCISSION.
(5) Once signed, the agreement shall govern all subsequent provision of medical services for which the agreement was signed until or unless rescinded by written notice. Written notice of such rescission may be given by a guardian or conservator of the patient if the patient is incapacitated or a minor. Where the agreement is one for medical services to a minor, it shall not be subject to disaffirmation by the minor if signed by the minor's parent or legal guardian.
(6) The patient shall be provided with a written copy of any agreement subject to the provisions of this section at the time that it is signed by the parties.
(7) No health care provider shall refuse to provide medical care services to any patient solely because such patient refused to sign such an agreement or exercised the ninety-day right of rescission.
(8) No health care provider shall withhold the provision of emergency medical services to any person because of that person's failure or refusal to sign an agreement containing a provision for binding arbitration of any dispute arising as to professional negligence of the provider.
(9) If a health care provider refuses to provide medical care services to any patient in violation of subsection (7) of this section or withholds the provision of emergency medical services to any person in violation of subsection (8) of this section or fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (3) or (4) or both of this section, such refusal or withholding of services shall constitute unprofessional conduct as such term is used under the relevant licensing statute governing that particular care provider, and the appropriate authority which conducts disciplinary proceedings relating to such health care provider shall consider and take appropriate disciplinary action against such health care provider as provided under the relevant licensing statute.
(10) Even where it complies with the provisions of this section, such an agreement may nevertheless be declared invalid by a court if it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that:
(a) The agreement failed to meet the standards for such agreements as specified in this section; or
(b) The execution of the agreement was induced by fraud; or
(c) The patient executed the agreement as a direct result of the willful or negligent disregard of the patient's right to refrain from such execution; or
(d) The patient executing the agreement was not able to communicate effectively in spoken and written English, unless the agreement is written in his native language.
(11) No such agreement may be submitted to a patient for approval when the patient's condition prevents the patient from making a rational decision whether or not to execute such an agreement.
(12) For the purposes of this section:
(a) (I) "Health care provider" means any person licensed or certified by the state of Colorado to deliver health care and any clinic, health dispensary, or health facility licensed by the state of Colorado. The term includes any professional corporation or other professional entity comprised of such health care providers as permitted by the laws of this state.
(II) (A) Nothing in this paragraph (a) shall be construed to permit a professional service corporation, as described in section 12-36-134, C.R.S., to practice medicine.
(B) Nothing in this paragraph (a) shall be construed to otherwise create an exception to the corporate practice of medicine doctrine.
(b) "Professional negligence" means a negligent act or omission by a health care provider in the rendering of professional services, which act or omission is the proximate cause of personal injury or wrongful death, as long as such services are within the scope of services for which the provider is licensed.
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