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Staying at the hospital can be quite an upsetting experience. Though it may be an absolute necessity for health and medical reasons for a patient to be at the hospital, the patient might want to still leave. The decision to leave the hospital against the advice of the Hospital signals an uneven equation between the patient and the hospital.

Why hospitals want patients to stay

There are prevalent notions that lead many into thinking that all hospitals are interested only in minting money out of advising multiple tests and that they have an ulterior motive when they extend the number of days of stay.

But the fact is that hospitals have a legal responsibility to ensure they only discharge when the patient has recovered. For ex the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) penalizes hospitals if within 30 days, Medicare patients have to readmitted. Doctors thus have to ensure that they do not hastily discharge and sometimes overdo on the safe side. The law also has been made in the patient's best interests.

What causes patients to leave the hospital

High Medical Bills and distrust

The big bills from the hospital can be plain painful. There are prevalent notions that lead us into thinking that all hospitals are interested only in minting money out of suggesting multiple tests and increasing the number of days of stay. It is necessary to ensure that the required stay is essential.

There is also a misconception that leaving the hospital without medical advice holds the insurance null and void. The Insurance may have nothing to do with leaving without advice, but it is best to check with your insurance agent before making an exit.

Poor Quality of Care

This is one very valid reason some patients might want to be discharged. However, it is important for the family to assess if the decision is based on pure facts. If you feel that the quality of care is not at an acceptable level, you can request a discharge. In certain cases, you would also be advised to make a complaint against the hospital.

There is also a misconception that leaving the hospital without medical advice holds the insurance null and void. The Insurance may have nothing to do with leaving without advice, but it is best to check with your insurance agent before making an exit.

Legalities

AMA- against medical advice is a situation where the patient leaves the hospital on their own will, even when directed otherwise by the Hospitals. This may hold big health risk.

Many doctors and patients believe that AMA discharges will void their health insurance and would leave the patients liable for all the medical costs - This is not true.! Between 1997 and 2011, total AMA discharges increased by about 40%.

Patients should not take the decision to go through with AMA lightly. It's usually done to reduce costs when the patient does not have adequate health insurance. It's sometimes also done to return to work or to simple return home early once the patient starts recovering a little.

If its due to high bills, it is best to first meet with the patient advocate to review the costs and discuss ways to reduce them through alternate approaches. Some hospitals have methods to alleviate such situations - they could offer interest free repayments among other.

When can hospitals forcibly keep you in?

Mental Health Rights Manual mentions that if you are medically in a situation where your decision making power is not considered rational or normal or if you’re in a psyche ward and you insist on an early release, the hospitals can use sedation to hold you further.

What to do in case you feel forced:

1. Be in trusting company, make sure your friends and family are around.
2. If they are physically not around keep documenting your experience.
3. If you feel unjustly, wrongly or negligently treated make sure you have enough proof to back yourself up.