Both public and private hospitals are prohibited by law from denying a patient care in an emergency. The Emergency Medical and Treatment Labor Act (EMTLA) passed by Congress in 1986 forbids the denial of care to indigent or uninsured patients based on a lack of ability to pay.

Patient Protection under the Emergency Medical and Treatment Labor Act

In addition to prohibiting the denial of emergency patient care, the EMTLA also prohibits unnecessary transfers of emergency patients to other hospitals while care is being administered and prohibits the suspension of care while ability to pay is being checked once care is initiated, provisions that prevent dumping patients who cannot pay.

A schedule of stiff fines is included in the EMTLA to discourage lying about the severity of a patient’s condition. Both hospitals and individual doctors can be held liable under the EMTLA, doubling potential financial punishment.

Hospitals Found in Violation of the EMTLA

Between January and September 2014, the following nine US hospitals were found guilty of violating the EMTLA:

  • Claiborne County Medical Center, Mississippi
  • Gregory Bohn, M.D., on-call surgeon at Trinity Bettendorf Hospital, Iowa
  • Mercy Hospital, Florida
  • Olive View – UCLA Medical Center – a county hospital in Sylmar, California
  • Saint Joseph’s Medical Center, New York
  • Springfield Hospital, Vermont
  • St. Vincent Jennings Hospital, Indiana
  • Trinity Medical Center d/b/a Trinity Bettendorf, Iowa
  • Winter Haven Hospital, Florida

Each of these cases was resolved through a settlement agreement with the settling party contesting the allegations and denying any liability.

Author: Rizk Law

Were you injured in an accident that was not your fault? Are your bills piling up while your pain and suffering seem to never end? Is an insurance carrier standing in your way of the money you need to get your life back on track? Then you need a lawyer who knows how insurance carriers think — and can fight them for the maximum compensation you deserve. You need Rizk Law.