CMS Eases Protocols on Filing of EMTALA Complaints

CMS Eases Protocols on Filing of EMTALA Complaints

The news comes as the federal healthcare legislation is in the SCOTUS spotlight for its role in emergency abortion procedures.

Federal officials last week announced that they were streamlining the fashion in which individuals can file a complaint related to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).

The web-based solution, now available online, was rolled out “to educate the public and promote patient access to the emergency medical care to which they are entitled under federal law,” according to a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) press release.

“HHS is committed to protecting access to emergency medical care for everyone in America and making sure appropriate steps are taken if they don’t get that care,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “We will continue to uphold the law and the right to emergency care, to inform people of their rights under EMTALA, and to make it easier for someone denied care to file a complaint.”

“If an individual believes their EMTALA rights have been violated, it is important that they can easily file a complaint,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure added. “We want to make sure that everyone knows their rights and can take action to help make sure the health care system is safe for everyone.”

In its press release and on its website, CMS notes three primary protections for all Americans visiting an emergency room:

  1. An appropriate medical screening exam to check for an emergency medical condition;
  2. If an emergency medical condition is detected, treatment provided until your condition is stabilized; and
  3. An appropriate transfer to another hospital, if necessary.

The federal law, passed in 1986, has been in Capitol Hill headlines of late, specifically due to arguments heard last month by the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark abortion case (CMS’s press release was silent on the topic). According to NPR, the case out of Idaho tests whether a state can prevent a pregnant woman from receiving what her doctors say is essential medical treatment, including the termination of a pregnancy, if her health, but not her life, is in grave danger.

It’s one of several key federal cases arising since the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision, Dobbs v. Jackson, overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

For more information, or to review the portal through which individuals can now file EMTALA complaints, go online to: https://www.cms.gov/priorities/your-patient-rights/emergency-room-rights

Mark Spivey is a national correspondent for RACmonitor and ICD10monitor who has been writing and editing material about the federal oversight of American healthcare for nearly 15 years. He can be reached at mcspivey33@gmail.com.  

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Mark Spivey

Mark Spivey is a national correspondent for RACmonitor.com, ICD10monitor.com, and Auditor Monitor who has been writing and editing material about the federal oversight of American healthcare for more than a decade.

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