Duty to provide care until stabilization may reach beyond emergency department

From Wolters Kluwer:

A Tennessee medical center must continue to defend against EMTALA claims, even though the transferred patient was treated as an inpatient for nine days.

A Tennessee federal district court considered multiple motions to dismiss concerning alleged violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd, and the Patient Protection and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148), related to the death of a 93-year-old patient who was admitted to a Tennessee medical center for nine days and then subsequently transferred to a rehabilitation facility. The estate alleged the patient was not stabilized and safe for transfer and was denied proper medical care based on her age. The court refused to dismiss the EMTALA claim finding that the duty to stabilize an emergency medical condition may continue beyond the emergency room. However, the court was unable to consider the issue of whether the patient’s medical conditions qualified as emergency medical conditions or were new issues since this determination was outside the scope of a motion to dismiss. The ACA claim was dismissed since the estate failed to exhaust its administrative remedies (Galuten v. Williamson Medical Center, April 9, 2019, Richardson, E.).

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