If my son was recently denied medical care due to the fact that his account had supposedly been turned over to collections, was the denial legal?

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If my son was recently denied medical care due to the fact that his account had supposedly been turned over to collections, was the denial legal?

I brought my son to an urgent care facility but care was denied due to a supposed outstanding bill. I informed the office manager that this was not accurate. She said his account was frozen and because it was a holiday the next day, the billing office had closed early. She said he could not be seen. I offered to pay cash until I could clear up this mistake, and she once again denied his care. I spoke with the billing office when it reopened and they confirmed that he had a zero balance owed. They also informed me that their company policy does not deny care, even if an account is in collections.

Asked on January 4, 2016 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

This is bad customer service but legal: no law requires a for profit medical provider or urgent care center to see a patient whom it believes (even if, as it later turns out, incorrectly or mistakenly) is a bad payment or credit risk, or currently owes an unpaid balance. Even if it was against company policy to do this, that is simply their internal policy, which the law does not enforce; the law would allow care to be denied in this circumstance, so nothing was legally done wrong.


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