(a) No patient shall be detained in a health facility solely for the nonpayment of a bill.
(b) For the purposes of this section, “detained” means the intentional confinement of a patient in a health facility without authorization of the patient or any other person who may be authorized to provide consent to care on behalf of the patient.
(c) Any person who is detained in a health facility solely for the nonpayment of a bill has a cause of action against the health facility for the detention, which may be brought by that person or that person’s parent, guardian, conservator, or other legal representative.
The cause of action may be brought against the health facility, proprietor, lessee or their agents, or against any person, corporation, association, or directors thereof. Any person who has been detained in a health facility, solely for the nonpayment of a bill, who has brought an action for the detention, may recover general and punitive damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees actually incurred and any other relief which the court in its discretion may allow.
(d) Violation of subdivision (a) is a misdemeanor punishable as prescribed in Section 1290.
(Amended by Stats. 1981, Ch. 714.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018