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Palestine Regional Medical Center in Texas Settles Case Involving a Patient Dumping Allegation

On August 1, 2016, Palestine Regional Medical Center (PRMC), in Palestine, Texas, entered into a $45,000 settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that PRMC violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) when it failed to provide stabilizing treatment and an appropriate transfer to a patient who presented to PRMC’s emergency department. OIG’s investigation revealed that a patient, who had a kidney transplant and was on dialysis, was waiting in the parking lot of a local dialysis center when she experienced significant shortness of breath. The patient was transported by ambulance to PRMC’s emergency department, where she was diagnosed with acute pulmonary edema and discharged to receive dialysis on an outpatient basis. The patient arrived at the dialysis center where dialysis was started promptly, but the patient’s condition deteriorated and she was taken back to PRMC’s emergency department where she was pronounced dead. OIG’s investigation concluded that PRMC failed to provide needed stabilizing treatment and an appropriate transfer when the patient presented to the emergency department the first time. Under EMTALA, hospitals can be fined up to $50,000 per violation. Senior Counsel Sandra Sands represented OIG.

Action Details

  • Date:August 1, 2016
  • Enforcement Types:
    • CMP and Affirmative Exclusions