Store's health clinic demanded overdue bill payment before treating 8-year-old, mom says

A walk-in clinic in a grocery store refused to treat a sick 8-year-old girl until an overdue bill was paid, the girl's mom told Cincinnati-based TV station WCPO.

Jessica Vance told the station she took her daughter with a cough and fever to the clinic to prevent a high emergency room bill. But once she got to the clinic, Ms. Vance said an employee told her the clinic couldn't treat her daughter because Ms. Vance had a $690 unpaid balance, from a yet-to-be-processed insurance payment.

To avoid taking her daughter to an emergency room that day, Ms. Vance said she used her credit card to pay the past due amount.

Ms. Vance's insurance company later paid the balance, and the clinic, which was not named, pledged to resolve the billing issue, according to WCPO.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act requires hospitals to stabilize and treat patients with emergency medical conditions, as long as they are capable, regardless of the patient's payment ability or insurance status. But according to an NPR report cited by the station, physicians may deny treatment prior to payment being settled for care that is not considered life-threatening.


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