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American Academy of Emergency Medicine

AAEM Update: CMS issues updated interpretive guidelines on EMTALA

CMS has updated its interpretive guidelines on the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA). These guidelines are distributed to the state surveyor agencies to use during their review of potential violations. It is important for EM physicians to know what the surveyors will be looking for. The key components of the new guidance addresses the issue of on-call physician requirements; the definition of "labor"; a detailed discussion of what constitutes a medical screening examination; guidance regarding delays in service to individuals arriving via pre-hospital EMS (also known as the "parking" issue), and the EMTALA responsibilities of recipient hospitals with specialized capabilities or facilities. The revisions are effective immediately. To access the full document, go to: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/surveycertificationgeninfo/downloads/SCLetter08-15.pdf