Emtala

721 Words Mar 18th, 2016 3 Pages
Background
EMTALA is the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act that was developed in 1985 as part of the Title IX of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act that went into effect in the year 1986 (Sara Rosenbaum, 2012). EMTALA was developed after an article was published in 1986 that documented how Cook County Hospital in Chicago was receiving patients that were “dumped” there that were unemployed, minorities, and lacked health insurance (Singer, 2014). This problem also occurred in 1983 in Dallas where over 200 patients were transferred between hospitals that were not stable (Singer, 2014). EMTALA is under the direction of the Department of Health and Human Services and was developed to address the needs of Americans
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The filing of the complaint must be completed within 72 hours of the transfer (Sally Austin, 2011). As a result of this, it has been difficult to see whether or not EMTALA has truly been successfully implemented and effective (Sara Rosenbaum, 2012). Another disadvantage is that EMTALA only requires hospitals to treat “true emergencies”, which are subjective in nature. The last revisions in 2003 for EMTALA by policymakers and CMS limited EMTALA to only patients that arrived to the emergency department, not to other areas of the hospital, such as a doctor’s office appointment or outpatient surgery (Sara Rosenbaum, 2012). Another negative consequence of EMTALA that is not addressed by the law is that emergency department physicians can still be held liable and face malpractice issues by uninsured patients (Singer, 2014). There have been legislative proposals by members of Congress that are working to change this to include physicians as members of the Public Health Services, which would address these concerns (Singer, 2014). These hesitations by physicians has forced some hospitals to close their emergency departments in California to avoid these financial consequences of lawsuits (Friedman, 2011). As a policymaker, EMTALA was
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