Rich, I assure you that a claim can be denied if a patient leaves AMA, because I've had to appeal such denials. It's a lot of work to try and get them reprocessed and paid, and is not always successful. I'm glad that Cate followed up on her denial herself, it always helps when both the patient and provider appeal an insurance company's decision.
In regards to the consent form, the explanation I was given came from the legal department. They said that while a patient had the right to cross things out on their consent, the provider had the right not to accept it. But Tree Hugger said it better than I could.
At any rate, Gracie has several offers from people who will give her a ride home, so that should no longer be an issue for her. It's great to see so many folks offer to help out.