Corporate Compliance

Tip: Follow EMTALA compliance steps to avoid violations

Healthcare Auditing Weekly, January 27, 2009

It’s important to understand the details of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) so your facility doesn’t unintentionally violate the law. Here are some tips that could help your facility avoid violations:
  • Inform your staff. Although all hospitals members need education and training in EMTALA, it is most important to train and educate your front-end emergency department staff.
  • Perform appropriate transfers. Make sure staff members know when it’s okay to transfer the patient, as well as the steps they must take to conduct an appropriate transfer.
  • Audit the EMTALA log. Your facility must have an EMTALA log to track the patient’s original emergency complaint, the determination of the clinical staff following the medical screening examination, and any other patient information a physician may need. Audit this log to ensure staff members are including the necessary and accurate information and note any incidents in which staff members did not perform the necessary screening.
  • Develop necessary policies. Make sure your facility has a hospital-to-hospital transfer policy. This policy includes agreements with other local hospitals that may have specialties your facility does not and vice versa.
This tip was adapted from a December 2008 Healthcare Auditing Strategies article titled “Conquer EMTALA on-call provision challenges.” For more information about this newsletter visit the HCMarketplace.

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