Emergency care represents $47.3 billion in annual U.S. medical costs. That figure might sound massive, unless you know that $47 billion only represents about 2% of the total outlay for healthcare in the United States every year.
And yet, there was a time when many uninsured US residents could be refused admission and treatment for emergency procedures. Enter the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, or EMTALA. EMTALA was created to ensure hospital emergency rooms screen and stabilize (or transfer) any and every patient with a medical emergency, regardless of whether that patient has health insurance, or the ability to pay for the treatment costs.
The rationale behind creating such an act were progressively benevolent, considering it was passed into law back in 1986. But nothing, especially government acts, go according to plan. To wit: last year, WebMD and Georgia Health News co-sponsored a study that found over 4,300 EMTALA violations over a ten year period spanning from 2008 to 2018. Over that same period of time, nearly 1,700 of the approximately 5,500 hospitals in the US were found in violation of the act.
So while we might be familiar with EMTALA, it’s clear that many of us don’t know the nuances surrounding the act.
If you’re interested in removing the subjectivity around EMTALA, and incorporating tighter policies and procedures around the act, check out our webinar, EMTALA Mistakes You Should Never Make, where I’ll discuss all things EMTALA, including:
- Recent EMTALA enforcements and the current environment for healthcare providers
- Foundational reviews of EMTALA and its compliance requirements
- Ensuring your compliance program meets EMTALA standards