- About AAEM
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The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) was included in the COBRA legislation of 1986. It was promulgated to combat the discriminatory practice of some hospitals transferring, discharging, or refusing to treat indigent patients coming to the emergency department because of the high cost associated with diagnosing and treating these patients with emergency medical conditions. While the Act applies to all Medicare participating hospitals, it protects anyone coming to a hospital seeking emergency medical services, not just Medicare beneficiaries. EMTALA imposes strict penalties including fines and exclusion from the Medicare program for violations of the Act. The Act imposes three primary requirements on Medicare participating hospitals that provide emergency medical services.
To help members understand the basic requirements of EMTALA, AAEM has prepared the following reports.
Another good resource for questions about EMTALA is the following website organized by the Frew Consulting Group of Rockford, IL.
HCFA also periodically issues reports and updates on the issue of EMTALA. Some of the most recent updates pertinent to Emergency Medicine are included below.