Payment Matters: CMS Seeks Comments on Applicability of EMTALA to Hospital Inpatients and to Hospitals With Specialized Capabilities

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CMS published an advance notice of rulemaking in the Dec. 23, 2010 Federal Register addressing the applicability of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Specifically, CMS is soliciting public comments by February 20, 2011 on the following two EMTALA issues.

1. The Applicability of EMTALA to Hospital Inpatients Should EMTALA apply to a patient who has been admitted as an inpatient even if the patient’s emergency medical condition remains unstabilized? CMS addressed this issue in the August 19, 2008 IPPS final rule, stating that the EMTALA obligation ends with admission, even if the patient has not been stabilized. However, there have been several cases addressing whether EMTALA requirements continue to apply to patients after they have been admitted as inpatients, with a split in the how the circuit courts ruled on this issue...

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