Emergency Room Questions: Can I Leave The ER Without Being Discharged?
In many instances, the patient and the doctors will agree on the ideal time to leave the medical facility. But, from time to time, there will arise circumstances where the two parties may not agree on when to discharge the patient.
When you decide to leave against the recommendations that have been made by your doctor, your case will be written off as an AMA (against medical advice) discharge. The physicians at Frontline ER usually use the AMA designation as a means of protecting themselves where the law is concerned. It is also meant to shield the medical facility from any liability if the patient becomes ill again or passes on due to the premature discharge.
Why Do Hospitals Want Patients to Stay?
As a patient, it is normal for you to harbor a suspicion that a medical facility is operating like a money-making scheme, whose sole purpose is to retain you in their care and perform as many medical tests as they can to increase their bottom line.
Although it is indeed true that there have been instances where some medical facilities have abused their authority, various measures have been put in place today to ensure that this kind of abuse does not occur. One of these mechanisms is what is popularly known as the Affordable Care Act.
It is an act that was designed to penalize facilities if Medicare patients got readmitted into a facility within thirty days of being discharged. It is for this reason that Frontline ER doctors cannot release you until they are sure that you are well enough to go back home to complete your recovery.
Ethical and Legal Concerns
There are cases where there could be more significant legal and ethical concerns at play that are inducing your doctor to retain you in their care for much longer than initially anticipated, more so in today’s day and age when medical malpractice has become very rife. However, you should note that there is currently no known widespread of this practice, more so when it comes to AMA discharges.
Existing evidence shows that many AMA discharges are mainly for medical reasons. Where such a declaration is complete, it means that the patient in question is at enhanced risk of being readmitted, and in some cases even death.
Before You Make the Decision to Leave AMA
Leaving a Frontline ER medical facility is not a decision that you should take lightly. The main reason why many people make this decision pertains to cost. For example, if you are paying cash or have higher deductibles, each additional day that you spend in the medical facility is likely to leave you with mounting bills, which you may in the long-run be unable to pay.
- Addressing Billing Concerns
Although the high cost associated with hospital care may be a source of concern, some patients decide to leave without even making an effort to meet with the hospital’s patient advocate to look at the actual bill and consult on how to subsidize or defray the costs.
Often, you will find that being uninsured may result in an automatic reduction of your bill. Additionally, providing proof that you are not employed may also assist in further reducing these costs. You could also request for a discount from the billing department if you can be able to prove that you are in extreme financial distress.
- Dealing with Legit Complaints
If you decide to leave the facility due to inadequate care, ensure that you first lodge an official complaint with the administrators. Frontline ER takes all reported events very seriously, and will immediately swing into action to ensure that the error is corrected quickly.
If You Have Made Up Your Mind to Leave AMA
Before deciding whether or not to be discharged against medical advice, there are a few things that you will need to know:
- If you have made up your mind to leave, then you will most likely be able to do so. The only exception applies to mental health patients or patients who are likely to hurt others.
- You will be required to sign a discharge document. Note that this particular document will be different from any SRE document that you may have signed previously. The purpose of this paper is to state that you have decided to leave against the advice from your attending physicians.
- An AMA discharge will in no way void your insurance details. Leaving AMA will not trigger an increase in your insurance premiums or result in a payment refusal. However, you need to know that you are likely to incur additional expenses if you get readmitted because of the AMA.
Although you have every right to accept or to refuse being treated, you should never choose to do this to the impairment of your health. Always try to work out any problems that you may be experiencing with the Frontline ER physicians before deciding to leave AMA.