Are government entities required to pay the hospital bills of incarcerated prisoners? This is a scenario that happens quite often. Jailed patients are admitted onto the hospitalist service through the ER for anything from pseudoseizures and chest pain to drug overdose and bowel obstructions. When patients are under the custody of the city, state or federal system, those entities are required to pay for necessary acute health care services. Maybe that has something to do with a prisoner's constitutional right. Prisoners may lose their right to vote, but not their right to get a bowel resection.
What's it like for staff taking care of prisoners? One, two and sometimes three guards are required to stay by the bedside 24 hours a day with the patient cuffed to the bed rail. If the patient needs to be transported to the radiology department, sometimes this must be arranged with the guards ahead of time to allow extra staffing for the transport. Having a jailed patient is expensive, not only for the hospital expenses but also for the extra labor expense of having additional guards in the patient's room. What is a city to do? I've had patients released from custody just before they were to have a major operation, so the government could avoid the catastrophic health care bills associated with continued custody.
In the case of Princess Greatness, you have the police wheel and deal with the DA to drop the $10,000 bail to $500 and have Jimmie the Pimp bail your butt out so you can leave the hospital against medical advice. That's how the city plays that game. Doctors and nurses, are just along for the ride. Now, the real question is, will the city insurance pay if she leaves AMA? The answer is yes, they will, although a managed Medicaid company has dropped to new lows in the battle for trying not to pay for work provided. I had a patient on two intravenous medications requiring continuous monitoring for toxicity and the patient left AMA. The Managed Medicaid insurance company said they would only approve the patient for observation status because the patient was in the hospital less than 24 hours. What a disgrace.