Patient Dumping in the Federal Courts: Expanding EMTALA Without Preempting State Malpractice Law
Jain, Samir C.
Hoyt, Shawn S.
Law, Medicine and Health Care. 1992 Fall; 20(3): 249-252.
In 1986, Congress responded to the patient dumping epidemic by passing the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). EMTALA was not designed to prevent patient dumping entirely. Congress passed EMTALA to protect only those uninsured and underinsured patients with emergency medical conditions from being unsafely transferred or refused treatment. Furthermore, the Act allows hospitals to transfer these patients once they are stabilized....Unfortunately, Congress drafted EMTALA in broad and ambiguous terms that have created considerable confusion in its application. These ambiguities have thrust EMTALA into the federal courts. The federal circuit courts have heard four cases involving EMTALA this past year in an attempt to give meaning and substance to its provisions. Overall, the federal courts have given EMTALA an expansive reading to effectuate its purposes, while interpreting its specific requirements more narrowly to prevent overlap with state medical malpractice law.
Childbirth; Competence; Economics; Emergency Care; Federal Government; Government; Government Regulation; Health; Health Care; Health Care Delivery; Health Insurance; Hospitals; Indigents; Institutional Policies; Insurance; Law; Legal Aspects; Legal Liability; Legislation; Liability; Malpractice; Motivation; Patient Admission; Patient Transfer; Patients; Physicians; Patient Dumping; Refusal to Treat; Regulation; Selection for Treatment; Standards;
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