Can my physician refuse to see me because of an unpaid bill?
The general AMA policy on billing is Opinion 6.05, "Fees for Medical Services." This Opinion does not specifically address whether a physician might refuse to see a patient due to an unpaid bill. However, Opinion 8.11, "Neglect of Patient" states, "Once having undertaken a case, the physician should not neglect the patient." Refusing to see a patient might be considered neglect, unless the physician appropriately terminated the patient-physician relationship. Opinion 8.115, "Termination of the Patient-Physician Relationship" states that the physician should provide "notice to the patient, the relatives, or responsible friends sufficiently long in advance of withdrawal to permit another medical attendant to be secured."
In addition, there may be specific regulations in your state that pertain to unpaid bills or the termination of the patient-physician relationship. You should contact your state licensing board or medical society to find out what the regulations are in your state. Contact information of the licensing boards in all 50 states.
For California Patient Rights see: