I have had procedures done at the hospital in the past 10 years and now they are bringing up this amount due from 10 years ago that they have not sent me anything on in 10 years and will not allow me to have my surgery until the amount is paid. There is also an amount from 4 years ago that I was unaware of so I will need to make arrangements on that too prior to my surgery also.
Except under emergency circumstances, the doctor-patient relationship is fully voluntary. A doctor can set the terms and conditions of the care. Granted, scheduling and then canceling surgery over an account that may be outside the statute of limitations and uncollectible shows little compassion and could be a public relations nightmare, the hospital is within its legal rights to make the demand.
Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.
This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
The hospital or clinic can choose to require payment of past debts before performing non-emergency future treatment. You may wish to inquire as to whether the hospital has a kind of "debt forgiveness" or "community care" program to reduce or eliminate past debt due to low income. Perhaps bankruptcy is also an option.
As long as you are not in dire need of emergency care, the hospital can generally refuse to provide any care to you.
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