Reporting an EMTALA Violation

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The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) was passed in 1986 to ensure that anyone can receive the emergency medical care they need. Hospitals are no longer allowed to turn away uninsured patients needing immediate care. Reporting a violation is quick and painless. Each violation of the EMTALA can result in a fine of up to $50,000 for the hospital and physicians involved. According to a Baylor University Medical Center article, most malpractice insurance policies will not pay such fines, so the physicians may be on the hook personally. EMTALA violations could also possibly result in the Medicare program denying participation to the offending hospital or doctor.

Step 1

Contact your local Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) office (formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration). You can find your local office from the CMS website.

Step 2

Tell the CMS office that you wish to file a EMTALA complaint. Anyone can report a violation anonymously.

Step 3

Give the CMS representative the necessary information. The CMS office needs details to properly investigate your claim. According to a CMS manual, you must give a comprehensive report of the alleged violation. This will likely include the names of individuals involved, location of the hospital and demands for restitution you wish to make. The CMS office will investigate your claim, but no more involvement is likely necessary on your part.