What Hospital Obligations are Imposed by EMTALA?
Hospitals that maintain an emergency department must comply with the following requirements. They have an obligation to provide an appropriate medical screening examination for determining whether a person has an emergency medical condition or is in active labor. They have an obligation to treat the emergency medical condition until stabilized or transfer the patient to an appropriate facility if they are unable to stabilize the patient. Hospitals with specialized capabilities or facilities are required to accept transfer of patients who require such specialized services, if the hospital has the capacity to treat the individual. Also, EMTALA requires hospitals to provide on-call physicians to enable the hospital to determine whether a patient has an emergency medical condition, to help stabilize emergency patients, and to accept patients in transfer from other facilities. The law also prohibits hospitals from delaying access because of an individual’s insurance status. What this means