Can a walk-in clinic refuse a patient because they have no insurance or ability to pay?

My son had acute abdominal pain for 3 hours and then vomited. I took him to the ER walk-in clinic, with no insurance and no ability to pay. They told me they could not treat him because of my inability to pay and to take him to the real hospital emergency room immediately. Clearly it was an emergency and they refused to treat him, while he was in extreme pain. I would like to file a complaint but I am unclear if they must be a 24 hour hospital, that requires them to treat in an emergency or if it applies to all doctors and clinics in emergency situations?

Asked on April 30, 2017 under Malpractice Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that walk-in clinics and private doctors are consdiered to be private busineesses. This means that under the law, they can refuse treatment to someone who cannot pay. As with any business, they are entitled to abe paid a fee for their services. That having been said, a public hospital cannot refuse to render care to a patient, even if they cannot pay. here is a link to a site that will explain further: https://law.freeadvice.com/malpractice_law/hospital_malpractice/hospital-patients.htm

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, private doctors and walk-in clinics are private businesses: they are allowed to refuse to take someone who can't pay and do not have to provide charity care. They are entitled to be paid for their tie and their services.


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