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thank ...

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Can a doctors office refuse to see you if you cannot pay the office visit?
My friend has been injured at work and can no longer work. She has no medical or income at this time. She owes her doctor twenty dollars and he refuses to see her. They did let her come to the office to check her blood pressure. It was 150/110. They told her she could not get any sample meds or see the doctor.
Isn't there some responsibility on the doctors office. I mean can they really just send someone out the door knowing they are very ill?


debbie k
yes they can refuse to see anyone for any reason, a state funded office has to see her but a private practice does not have to.

I don't know how legal it is, but I have seen it happen before. Tell your friend to go to the emergency room and she will be seen. Hospitals can not turn anyone away, regardless of a previous bill pending, no insurance or race. The er doctors wont give her samples but will get her blood pressure under control and refer her to her primary doctor. My advise to her is to pay the bill if she wants to continue to see her doctor or get a new doctor. It's a shame that that sort of patient care happens in this country, but it is all about money and greed.

No, the responsibility is on her work. If she got injured there, they pay her doct's visit, not her and any other medical expenses she's incurred. It's called workman's compensation. She needs to check into this where she works. Also, she might be eligible for getting partial income thru that program as well. It won't be 100% of her wages, but a certain percentage, it varies depending on what the program covers. Hopefully, she will not have to pay out and be re-imbursed for the coverage. She needs to find out about this asap, as there are time limits.

I think doctors are lead by the advise of their accountants. Doctors did not study financial management with concentration on debt to income ratio. So if a doctor you know, in a hospital or private practice, he has to follow guidelines to stay afloat.

Unfortunately, yes. She can go to a free or subsidized clinic. If she isn't able to work she should be able to get disability, which should cover medical.

Anna Z
I don't know what state you are in but, where I work in Indiana we would not let someone walk out the door with their blood pressure that high, if she had a stroke or heart attack the facility would be responsible for letting her leave. Also where I work we have a sliding fee scale for people who can't afford the visits, they can pay anywhere from $5.00 a visit on up. If they have to go to the hospital there is a charity grant available. But, if your friend was injured at work workers comp should cover her injury and doctors visits, I'd check into that. good luck, I hope I helped with some with my answer.

Why isn't worker's compensation covering the visit? You need to contact them and hire a lawyer.They are extremely hard to deal with. My husband had to go through this.

Yes, a Private facility can, if it is government subsidized they can't.

Yes, it is true that physicians can refuse to see patients. However, there is a medical and legal concept known as 'continuum of care' in which a medical professional must continue to treat a patient unless the physician has notified the patient by certified mail that they are being discharged from the practice. In the meantime, your friend should go to a city hospital's ER.

No. Especially if this is a case of worker's comp. It is the responsibilty of the doctors office to bill the appropriate state agency for medical visits based on worker's comp cases.

She can also go to a local ER, they cannot refuse service based on financials.

unfortunately yes they can. If your friend was hurt on the job, then she/he should have set up a workman's comp. claim and their employer should be responsible for any and all treatment that is necessary.
Also, in many metropolitan cities, there are indigent care facilities that will be happy to see them for a reduced rate or even free, but getting an appointment may be tough.

ok ask your self this question "can i get groceries without money?" Why would you expect the doctor to work for free when he has spent all that money and time going to school to be a doctor. Why doesn't your friend go to the county health department for medical attention and tell he to be sure and take a bath before she goes.

i'm not sure about private doctor's offices. however, all hospitals i have ever encountered have seen patients with or without insurance and then send that person a bill.

if the doctor is in private practice, he doesn't have to see patients if he doesn't want to.

Special K
it's wrong, but private practice can be like that. if she has to see a doctor, go to an emergency room. they should not refuse her there.

They can basically do whatever they want to do. Sorry but the burden of proof would be on your friend. With her current situation and pursuing legal action might be more stressful on her at this point.

Try researching the internet search engines for "free clinics" and patient assistance programs for medications in your friend's local area.

Most hospitals have community health programs to assist people without any insurance, medicare or medicaid. Try calling your local hospital, ask to speak to the social services department.

You would be a GREAT friend by being there for her armed with information on assistance programs.

As always, hospital emergency rooms cannot turn away patients in need.


Can a restaurant refuse to give you food again because you ran out on the check? Of course they can. So can a doctor. If she needs medical attention, she should go to a free state run clinic.

Yes they can refuse to see her. Now if she goes to the ER for an emergency then they have to see her.

Unfortunately there are Dr.'s that operate that way.
They get tired of being owed money.
Have her go to the local health department, they will see her for free.
Hope this helps.

kirsten j
doctors have the right to refuse patients for various reasons. lack of payment is one. sometimes it is not them in particular, but whoever runs the office that dictates that. if she is ill, she needs to go to an ER

Sure they can. In private practice. There are clinics and places for people in your friend's situation. Have them go to their local health department.

Bufford M
Short answer: In most cases where there has been a relationship established, then in my state (Texas) there is an obligation to respond appropriately, until the relationship is ended. There are a lot of physicians who will terminate the relationship if there is a persistent unpaid account. There is a very formal procedure to terminate the relationship that has to be followed (in Texas, and I would guess in most states).

In most cases, twenty dollars owed wouldn't usually be a problem, unless it has been owed for a long time or the patient has made it clear that they have no intention of paying

Finally, if she was injured at work and this was covered by workers compensation, and she was permanently disabled (officially, not just "she can't work"), then she should be able to get help with her care if she can't afford insurance because she can't work due to a compensable injury

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