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Can refusing some treatments invalidate Medicare?

2 answers | Last updated: May 15, 2011
An anonymous caregiver asked...
My husband is a post-stroke patient and has researched diet in preventing reccurence. He does not agree with present philosopy on diet and wishes to challenge the presiding physician's recommendations. He has been told he might have to sign a paper which documents his refusal and releases the doctor from responsibility. Medicare is his only insurance and consequently he is concerned about Medicare coverage if a doctor's recommendation is refused.

Caring.com User - Joseph L.  Matthews
Caring.com Expert
Joseph L. Matthews is a Caring.com Expert, an attorney, and the author of Long-Term Care: How to Plan & Pay for It and...
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A patient (who is competent to make decisions) always has a right to refuse treatment. It sounds like what the doctor is doing is simply protecting himself or herself against See also:
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a liability claim by getting written documentation that your husband's failure to follow a particular course of treatment is contrary to the doctor's medical advice. But this has nothing to do with Medicare coverage.

The question of whether Medicare will cover future medical care your husband receives depends entirely on whether that new care is prescribed by a physician (this doctor or someone else) and is considered by Medicare to be "medically necessary." Whether your husband had previously refused other treatment should have nothing to do with that.


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