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North Carolina Hospital Settles Case Involving Patient Dumping Allegation

On April 9, 2018, CAH Acquisition Company 1 d/b/a Washington County Hospital (WCH), Plymouth, North Carolina, entered into a $52,414 settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that WCH violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act when it failed to provide an appropriate medical screening examination and stabilizing treatment for a patient. An ambulance was called to provide medical assistance to the patient, a 54-year-old woman, who was suffering from a worsening of the shortness of breath that she had been experiencing for two weeks. The emergency medical technicians (EMTs) arrived at the patient's residence and found that she was experiencing uncontrolled hypertension and increased shortness of breath with dyspnea on exertion. The EMTs drove the patient to WCH's Emergency Department (ED), which was located two minutes from the patient's residence. En route, the EMTs called WCH to report on the patient's condition and to notify WCH that the EMTs were bringing the patient to WCH's ED. When the ambulance carrying the patient was on WCH's property, the EMTs were asked to call WCH. Subsequently, WCH's ED staff informed the EMTs that WCH was on diversion and could not see the patient. WCH, however, was not on diversion and, even though WCH was aware that the ambulance was already on its property, WCH directed the EMTs to take the patient to another hospital located 22 miles away. Associate Counsel Srishti Sheffner represented OIG.

Action Details

  • Date:April 9, 2018
  • Enforcement Types:
    • CMP and Affirmative Exclusions