Can a patient be refused medical treatment by their doctor due to a family member’s unpaid account balance?

UPDATED: Jun 7, 2014

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Can a patient be refused medical treatment by their doctor due to a family member’s unpaid account balance?

My knee was replaced 2 years ago. My daughter has since had to see the doctor but because there is a balance under my daughter’s account, they cancelled my appointment for my follow-ups until entire balance is paid. I don’t have it. I offered over 1/3 to start so I could get seen. But no. I have injured the new knee when I had to shovel in the winter and I cannot get seen. What are my options? This is not right and I’m suffering?

Asked on June 7, 2014 under Malpractice Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your option is to see another doctor. Physicians are not charities--they are entitled to be paid for their work, and are allowed to not see patients who owe them money.  Would you be forced to work for free at your job? The same applies to doctors: if not paid, they do not need to see you.

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