Corporate Compliance

Tip: Treatment or transfer?

Compliance Monitor, December 30, 2009

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires all Medicare participating emergency rooms to provide proper medical screening and examination to determine whether a patient has an emergency medical condition. Whether the patient needs treatment or a transfer, these are some guidelines your compliance program should follow:

  • Do not delay to inquire about an individual’s method of payment or insurance status.
  • If your emergency department (ED) is “on diversion” and an individual presents to the ED for evaluation or treatment of a medical condition, the hospital must provide such services despite its diversionary status.
  • When transferring a patient, your hospital must minimize the risks to the individual and prearrange the transfer with the receiving facility. Your emergency staff must stabilize the patient and ensure that the receiving facility will obtain the patient’s necessary medical records.
  • Your facility must accept transfer requests from other hospitals if it has specialized capabilities to treat the patient that the transferring hospital does not
  • Educate your on-call physicians about their responsibilities to emergency patients, including the responsibility to accept appropriately transferred patients from other facilities

This week’s tip was adapted from The Compliance Program Effectiveness Handbook. For more information about the book or to order your copy, visit the HCMarketplace.

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