[ Wednesday, September 03, 2003 ]


EMTALA Update:

HHS has published new rules on EMTALA. According to the inestimable Susan Koch:

"While billed by CMS in its press release as clarifying hospital obligations to patients who request treatment for emergency medical conditions under EMTALA, the new rule effectively serves as a compilation of the outstanding interpretations of EMTALA. A few changes are also included in the final rule. For example, the definition of emergency department has been expanded to mean "any department or facility of the hospital, regardless of whether it is located on or off the main hospital campus, that (1) is licensed by the State in which it is located under applicable State law as an emergency room or emergency department; (2) is held out to the public as a place that provides care for emergency medical conditions on an urgent basis without requiring a previously scheduled appointment; or (3) provides at least one-third of all of its outpatient visits for the examination or treatment of emergency medical conditions." As a result of expanding this definition, CMS has chosen to delete the EMTALA requirements applicable to off-campus provider-based departments and entities, which were proposed in 2000.

"The final rule also codifies the existing departmental interpretation of the controversial on-call requirements. Under the final rule, hospitals will continue to have discretion to develop their on-call lists in a way that best meets the needs of their patients, in accordance with the capability of the hospital and the availability of on-call physicians. The final rule also provides that physicians will be permitted to be on-call simultaneously at more than one hospital, and to schedule elective surgery or other medical procedures during on-call times. In addition, the final rule clarifies that EMTALA does not apply after a patient has been seen, screened, and admitted for inpatient hospital services, unless the admission is made in bad faith to avoid the EMTALA requirements, which is consistent with recent court cases. "

You can find the new EMTALA regs here.

Jeff [2:23 PM]

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