Can a doctor refuse to treat me just because I owe their office a little money?

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Can a doctor refuse to treat me just because I owe their office a little money?

I am a coal miner and I got injured in the mines a couple days ago. I went to the ER and the doctors there told me that I need to see a family physician. So I called to set up a appointment and the woman I spoke to is refusing to treat me unless I pay the money that I owe them. Are they allowed to refuse treatment like that?

Asked on June 19, 2012 under Malpractice Law, West Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, doctors are not required to treat people who cannot or will not pay them. The law does not make doctor's provide their valuable time for free. Your recourse if you need medical care but your doctor will not see you is to go the emergency room; an emergency room can recommend you see a different physician, but cannot turn you away.


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