CMS issues EMTALA interpretation guidelines

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued interpretive guidelines for the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) final rule that took effect last November.

While noting that the guidelines largely track the rule issued last year, Maureen Mudron, American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Washington, DC, counsel, notes that "by including additional examples, they’ve provided more practical guidance for managing day-to-day situations."

The outstanding issue in this update is the on-call implications, says James J. Augustine, MD, FACEP, vice chair of clinical operations in the department of emergency medicine at Emory University in Atlanta and director of clinical operations at Emergency Medical Physicians, a group based in Canton, OH.

That’s why the American Medical Association and the AHA are so active in this year’s update, Augustine adds. "The ongoing challenge for ED managers is the ability to keep call panels intact," he says.