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June 13, 1966

Medical vs Legal Fee Splitting

Author Affiliations

Elkins Park, Pa

JAMA. 1966;196(11):1025. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100240159046

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To the Editor:—  James H. Hutton, MD, compares medical fee splitting (proscribed) to fee splitting in the legal profession which is approved by the bar association. He suggests that medical fees be paid in lump sum and the doctors split them any way they see fit.A fallacy in the comparison is that fee splitting among lawyers is self-regulating, since most fees are contingent on the size of the settlement. Therefore it is to the advantage of the client to secure lawyer A in the hope that he will get a large award. It is also to the advantage of lawyer A to secure the services of lawyer B who may be able to get an even larger award. Lawyer A can't possibly choose a less talented lawyer or his fees would suffer. The system provides for referrals of increasing- competence, and an increasing degree of protection for the client.

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