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Frye Regional Medical Center Agreed to Pay $100,000 for Allegedly Violating Patient Dumping Statute by Failing to Provide an Appropriate Medical Screening Examination and Stabilizing Treatment

On December 21, 2020, Frye Regional Medical Center (FRMC), Hickory, North Carolina, entered into a $100,000 settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that, based on OIG's investigation, FRMC violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), when it failed to provide an appropriate medical screening examination and stabilizing treatment to a 53-year-old individual. Specifically, the individual presented to FRMC’s Emergency Department (ED) at 7:37 a.m. on January 10, 2016, complaining of chest pain. The individual was immediately given an electrocardiogram (EKG) that was read by a physician two minutes later. The EKG was normal. The triage nurse documented the individual’s chief complaint as “chest pain since last night, also nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.” The individual was sent to the waiting room without drawing any labs. The individual’s spouse subsequently repeatedly asked for medical assistance because the individual was lying on the floor due to worsening chest pain. When a nurse finally responded, she told the spouse that they would have to wait. No reassessment of the individual was performed. At 11:21 a.m., the medical record noted that the individual left without treatment. The individual presented to a second hospital at 11:25 a.m. where the individual received an emergency heart catheterization and was diagnosed with triple vessel disease. The individual needed an urgent coronary bypass and was sent back to FRMC where the individual underwent a triple coronary bypass the next day. Senior Counsel Sandra Sands represented OIG.

Action Details

  • Date:December 21, 2020
  • Enforcement Types:
    • CMP and Affirmative Exclusions