Essentials of Health Policy and Law: Examination and Treatment for Emergency Medical Conditions and Women in Labor Legislation
The act was passed in 1986 by the United States Congress as a section of the COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act), which mainly dealt with issues pertaining to Medicare. The initial and chief intent of the law was to ensure that patients were able to access emergency medical care, while at the same time preventing the undesirable act of patient dumping. Dumping of patients is a practice mainly by private hospitals, whereby they transfer uninsured patients from the private hospitals to public hospitals for financial reasons. They do this without considering the health condition of the patients or the state of their stability (Zibulewsky, 2001).
Currently, the statute practically applies to all aspects of patient care in the hospital as opposed to the onset when it only covered emergency services. As such, it is a requirement for all hospital staff, and not just emergency physicians, to be thoroughly conversant with its general requirements. Hospitals are now required to provide patients with stabilizing treatment, and if any hospital is not in a position to do so, or upon the request of the patient, then an appropriate transfer arrangement should be implemented (CMS.gov).
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