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Q: What if the ambulance company requires insurance information to guarantee payment on all transfers prior to the patient leaving the ED? Is the transfer to be held until all the forms are in?
A: Subsection (h) prohibits the hospital from delaying screening or stabilization in order to inquire about insurance status, says Gloria Frank, JD, owner of EMTALA Solutions, an Ellicott City, MD-based consulting firm, and former lead enforcement official on EMTALA for the Baltimore, MD-based Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). "My view is that the hospital would be held liable for delaying the transfer under general principles of the need for appropriate transfer in a timely manner," she says.
Q: During the night, we frequently have police officers bring people in for blood alcohols. Our lab is staffed with only one person and is locked, making it difficult to access. If the officer brings the person to the ED for the blood draw, are we required to do a medical screening examination?
A: No, according to Grena Porto, ARM, CPHRM, director of clinical risk management for VHA, a Berwyn, PA-based alliance of community-owned health care organizations. "An emergency medical condition does not exist, therefore EMTALA does not apply," she says.
[Editor’s Note: If you have questions regarding the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), contact Staci Kusterbeck, Editor, ED Management, 280 Nassau Road, Huntington, NY 11743. Telephone: (631) 425-9760. Fax: (631) 271-1603. E-mail: StaciKusterbeck@aol.com.]