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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Police: Clinic workers imprisoned patient who couldn't pay

    Staffers at a Duluth medical practice shuttered their office Friday amid charges of false imprisonment for allegedly locking a patient in a room when concerns arose about her ability to pay the bill.

    Bales' attorney, Joseph Fried, said Friday she was told initially that the visit would cost $98. Bales had been visiting from out-of-state and didn't have health insurance, Fried said.

    "They took her debit card and her driver's license at the reception desk," Fried said. "She figured with X-rays it might be a little more."

    Instead, after tests, Bales was charged $755, Fried said.

    "She says, 'I don't have the money,' " Fried said. "They direct her to go into what they called their billing office." For several hours, the staff refused to allow her to leave, locking her in for periods of time, Fried said. They had her log into her bank records from a computer while she was there, he said.

    "They said, 'Don't you have anyone who loves you who can come and help you? Because you're not leaving until this bill is paid,' " Fried said. "They made her feel like she was a criminal. She was made to feel like she couldn't leave without something bad to happen to her."

    At one point, they allowed her to go to her truck to get a paycheck, but held her keys while she looked, unlocking the vehicle's doors with the electronic key fob on the keychain, Fried said.




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