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Floyd Medical Center in Georgia Settles Case Involving a Patient Dumping Allegation

On January 6, 2016, Floyd Medical Center (FMC), in Rome, Georgia, entered into a $50,000 settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that FMC violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) when it failed to evaluate and treat a mentally ill patient who was transferred from another hospital to FMC for involuntary inpatient psychiatric care. OIG's investigation revealed the following. The patient was aggressive and combative upon his arrival to FMC's emergency department. Three security personnel, including an off-duty police officer working for FMC, attempted to restrain the patient while a nurse went to retrieve medication to calm him down. When the security personnel entered the room, the patient attempted to strike one of them. In response, a security officer hit the patient in the head and pushed him until he fell on the bed. The security officers then wrestled the patient to the ground and handcuffed him, causing injury to the patient. When the nurse returned, the security personnel informed her that the patient's behavior was beyond what FMC could safely control. Without psychiatric evaluation or appropriate medical treatment, the emergency department physician medically cleared the patient and he was taken to jail. Despite having an on-call psychiatrist and capabilities to treat the patient, at no point was he evaluated or treated by a mental health professional. Under EMTALA, hospitals can be fined up to $50,000 per violation. Senior Counsel Sandra Sands represented OIG.

Action Details

  • Date:January 6, 2016
  • Enforcement Types:
    • CMP and Affirmative Exclusions