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Lake City Medical Center in Florida Settles Case Involving a Patient Dumping Allegation

On December 21, 2015, Lake City Medical Center (LCMC), in Lake City, Florida, entered into a $25,000 settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that LCMC violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) when it failed to provide an appropriate medical screening examination and stabilizing treatment for a 42-year-old female. OIG's investigation revealed the following. The patient arrived at LCMC's emergency department complaining of headaches, right arm pain and diarrhea the previous day. She was seen by a physician's assistant and then asked to wait in the waiting room. While there, she vomited and continued to complain of right arm pain. The physician's assistant concluded that she did not need immediate medical attention and asked the patient to leave the emergency department. When the patient resisted and her family complained, the emergency department personnel called the police to escort her out of the emergency department. After unsuccessful attempts by police and paramedics to get the patient into a car, her family requested the emergency department call an ambulance so she could be taken to another hospital. When the ambulance arrived, the patient was unresponsive and taken to another hospital where she was placed on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit and later diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. Under EMTALA, a small hospital can be fined up to $25,000 per violation. Senior Counsel Sandra Sands represented OIG.

Action Details

  • Date:December 21, 2015
  • Enforcement Types:
    • CMP and Affirmative Exclusions