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Bill Payments

Another possible false imprisonment situation occurs when the hospital gives the patient the impression that the patient cannot leave the hospital until arrangements have been made to pay the hospital bill. This is especially risky when the patient is a minor and the parents are unaware of their right to take the child.

This situation usually arises from the actions of an overzealous billing office employee. the hospital administration is seldom aware that the billing office tries to intimidate patients into making arrangements for the bill before leaving the hospital. This is usually discovered only after a lawsuit is brought for false imprisonment because a child was left in the hospital for a few days by distraught parents who did not know that they had the right to take their child home. The billing office personnel must be made aware of this problem; there should be prominent signs in the billing office explaining that the patient (or parent) may leave when discharged. Giving the patients this information will also decrease the likelihood that payment contracts signed by the patients will be attacked in court as coercive.


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