Who Pays Hospital Costs for Patients in Police Custody?
A bigger issue, for example, is when a person is arrested and taken to the emergency department for medical clearance either because of odd behavior, or suspected intoxication. As long as the patient is in custody, the custodian (county or state law officers, etc.) is responsible for payment of medical charges. A proviso in many states is that the patient is responsible for reimbursing those costs.
Hoy has seen patients "unarrested" and left to receive the care, while they were in actuality still in "custody" and not free to leave the healthcare facility according to the sheriff.
"The local authorities wanted us to police these people with our security guards and then tell law enforcement when they were ready to go so they could come take them directly to jail," Hoy recalls. "All to get out of paying for their care."
Hospitals staff should ask certain questions answered before a potential incarcerated patient presents:
- Was the patient charged at the time of arrival to the hospital?
- Was the patient charged during his stay?
- Was he arrested upon discharge?
- Who is responsible for paying for the services rendered for each circumstance?
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