AARP Rewards combines online learning, fitness challenges and a supportive community. Visit today.
Doctors & Hospitals
by Linda Greider, From the AARP Bulletin Print Edition, May 1, 2009
Doctors don’t like getting bad reviews, and now they’ve possibly found an antidote. So far, about 1,000 physicians have asked their patients to sign a legal form promising not to “publish or air” any unfavorable information about the doctor’s care, manner or office staff. The waivers mainly target online ratings sites such as RateMDs.com and Zagat.com.
“We think bad information is harmful,” says Shane Stadler, marketing director for Medical Justice Services, the Greensboro, N.C., company that developed the waiver language and began licensing it for a fee to physicians about two years ago. He characterizes the document as a “mutual privacy agreement” good for both doctor and patient.
But patient advocacy groups disagree. “It’s critical that the doctor-patient relationship be open and trusting,” says Jennifer C. Jaff, executive director of Advocacy for Patients With Chronic Illness in Farmington, Conn. “These waivers set up adversarial boundaries from the start.”
But will the waiver stand up in court? “Courts will not enforce contracts that violate public policy,” says John Weistart, a contracts professor at Duke University School of Law, who has reviewed the document. “So attempts by physicians to suppress evaluations by patients are very doubtful.”
Linda Greider is a Washington-based freelance writer.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
Free chapter from AARP’s book by Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Members save 15% on medical alert service.
WW will help you build a customized weight loss plan
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
You'll start receiving the latest news, benefits, events, and programs related to AARP's mission to empower people to choose how they live as they age.
You can also manage your communication preferences by updating your account at anytime. You will be asked to register or log in.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at