EMTALA and Hospital Inpatients: CMS Keeps Status Quo for General Rule, But Asks for Further Comment on Receiving Hospitals with Specialized Capabilities

On February 2, 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a notice in the Federal Register, indicating that it will maintain the current Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) regulations that provide a hospital’s EMTALA obligation ends when it admits, in good faith, an individual with an emergency medical condition (EMC) as an inpatient so as to provide stabilizing treatment. However, while not proposing any changes, CMS stated that it continues to seek comments on the current policy of no EMTALA obligations for hospitals with specialized capabilities that may receive transfers from a hospital that has an individual who presents to its emergency department with an EMC, is admitted as an inpatient, and continues to have an unstable EMC that requires the specialized capabilities at the other hospital. Comments regarding the applicability of EMTALA to hospitals with specialized capabilities are due no later than April 2, 2012.

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