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Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in California Settles Case Involving a Patient Dumping Allegation

On December 21, 2015, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (SRMH), in Santa Rosa, California, entered into a $50,000 settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that SRMH violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) when it failed to provide an appropriate medical screening examination and stabilizing treatment to a patient found on SRMH's property. OIG's investigation revealed the following. The patient was seen the previous day in SRMH's emergency department for alcohol withdrawal and neck pain. The physician prescribed a medication for alcohol withdrawal and discharged the patient with instructions for alcohol withdrawal and alcohol abuse. The next morning, the patient was seen by multiple members of the hospital staff, including security, lying on the ground near the perimeter of SRMH's parking lot, possibly in need of medical assistance. Despite being notified several times that the patient may be in need of medical assistance, SRMH failed to respond. Eventually, a staff member who was jogging saw the patient on the ground and called 911. When EMS arrived, the patient had died shortly before EMS's arrival. An autopsy report revealed the cause of death to be acute bacterial pneumonia of the left lung. Under EMTALA, hospitals can be fined up to $50,000 per violation. Senior Counsel Sandra Sands represented OIG.

Action Details

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