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Can you be refused treatment due to unpaid medical debts?

If you are like most in Manchester, than your doctor’s ability to help you overcome your health issues makes the high costs that accompany your care seem worth it. However, that acceptance may help little when the time comes to pay your bills. If you struggle to meet your medical expenses, you are not alone; a recent New York Times study reported that 53 percent of uninsured Americans had difficulty paying their medical bills. It also revealed that 20 percent of those who are insured have the same problem. Your inability to pay your bills could potentially put a strain between you and your provider’s office. If you are forced to return for further treatment, what happens then?

If your doctor runs a private practice, then he or she could potentially refuse to provide service to you if you have an unpaid balance with his or her clinic. That is because private medical practices are essentially small businesses, and like any small business, they have the right to refuse service to anyone. The only exception to this is if your primary care doctor’s refusal to treat you could lead to your condition worsening. In such a case, he or she must continue to see you until you can settle your balance or find another physician.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act requires that if you present to a hospital emergency  or labor and delivery department in active labor or suffering from an emergency medical condition, those facilities must treat you to the point of stabilizing your condition, regardless of your ability to pay. This law applies to all hospitals in the U.S., regardless of whether they are publicly sponsored or privately owned. 

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Law Office of Paul Petrillo
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Nashua, NH 03062

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