Here are key EMTALA points to know

Below is the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) "study guide" given to emergency department (ED) nurses at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, Melrose Park, IL:

• Medical screening exam.

An emergency medical screening exam must be provided to any patient who presents to the emergency department requesting help for a physical, mental health, or obstetrical emergency. The medical screening exam cannot be delayed in order to inquire about a patient’s method of payment. Hospital staff do not contact health plans to obtain authorization for medical screening exams. The emergency department physician is responsible for performing the medical screening exam.

• Emergency department log book.

Every patient presenting to the emergency department must be entered manually into the ED Log Book. This information must be recorded even if the patient refuses treatment.

• Transfer of patients.

A patient found to be stable after an adequate medical screening exam may be transferred. There must be physician-to-physician communication prior to transfer, and the accepting physician must agree to the terms of the transfer. There must be adequate documentation stating who the accepting physician is. Documentation must clearly state the patient’s condition. The physician must sign the physician attestation "patient stable for transfer." If the patient is not stable for transfer, documentation by the physician must reflect that the benefits outweigh the risks, and the patient must be accompanied by the appropriate medical team.

• Signage.

EMTALA signs notifying patients of their rights under EMTALA are located in the Emergency Department waiting room and the Main Registration area.

• 250-yard rule.

The Emergency Department staff responds to all emergencies in the basement, the entire first floor, and the entire exterior campus.

• EMTALA violations.

Notify the Director of Emergency Services or Corporate Compliance Officer for any potential EMTALA violations.