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Florida Hospital Settles Case Involving Patient Dumping Allegation

On March 23, 2018, Peace River Regional Medical Center (Peace River), Port Charlotte, Florida, entered into a $42,500 settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that based on OIG's investigation, Peace River violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act when it failed to accept an appropriate transfer of a patient. Specifically, the patient, a 17-year-old female, presented to another hospital's Emergency Department (ED), 6 weeks pregnant, complaining of abdominal pain continuing for approximately one week. An ultrasound confirmed the intrauterine fetus with a heartbeat and a left ectopic ruptured mass. The patient needed obstetric care, which was not available at that hospital. Accordingly, the ED contacted the Hospital Corporation of America Transport Center (TC) and requested transfer for a possible ruptured ectopic pregnancy. When TC communicated to Peace River's ED that it was trying to facilitate an ED-to-ED transfer, Peace River's representative replied that it did not accept ED-to-ED transfers and hung up. TC called Peace River back and the call was transferred to the ED, where it was reiterated that Peace River did not accept ED-to-ED transfers. The ED employee also mentioned that they had given the transferring hospital the contact information for Peace River's on-call OB/GYN. The transferring hospital called Peace River's on-call OB/GYN who requested all of the patient medical reports be faxed to him before he would consider accepting the patient. During this conversation the doctor learned that the patient was "out of county" and he did not accept the transfer. Senior Counsel Sandra Sands represented OIG.

Action Details

  • Date:March 23, 2018
  • Enforcement Types:
    • CMP and Affirmative Exclusions