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Texas Mental Health Provider Settles Case Involving Excluded Individual

On October 17, 2017, Southeast Missouri Hospital (SEM), Cape Girardeau, Missouri, entered into a $100,000 settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that SEM violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act when it failed to provide an adequate medical screening examination and stabilizing treatment for two patients who presented to SEM's Emergency Department (ED) in 2011. OIG alleged that instead of being properly evaluated and treated, the patients were discharged with unstabilized emergency medical conditions to the custody of police pursuant to a hospital policy: if a patient had a blood alcohol level (BAL) above 100, the patient was given to local law enforcement and taken to jail. The first patient was 25 years old when she called a crisis hotline and an ambulance was dispatched to her residence. She was transported to SEM's ED for evaluation of a possible suicide attempt by overdose. The patient's BAL was 422 and the ED physician discharged her into the custody of local law enforcement where she was detained in jail and expected to see a counselor. The second patient was 41 years old when he presented to SEM after attempting suicide by overdose. The patient was depressed, had a history of psychiatric problems, and had recently been admitted for electroconvulsive therapy. The patient's BAL was 288 and he was discharged into the custody of local law enforcement and taken to jail. The next day the patient was seen by a counselor in jail and then released from custody. The patient returned to SEM that evening after again attempting suicide by overdose. The patient had slurred speech, was lethargic and had a flat affect and was admitted to the intensive care unit in guarded condition. Senior Counsel Sandra Sands represented OIG.

Action Details

  • Date:October 17, 2017
  • Enforcement Types:
    • CMP and Affirmative Exclusions