Tristar Summit Medical Center in Tennessee Settles Patient Dumping Allegations
A hospital in Tennessee that allegedly transferred an unstable patient for insurance reasons will pay $40,000 in a settlement with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services, it was announced today. Tristar Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, TN is settling allegations by the OIG that it broke the law when it transferred a patient that had come to its emergency department after consuming a bottle of antifreeze without first stabilizing the patient's medical condition. Emergency room personnel, it is alleged, determined the patient should be admitted to an intensive care unit and, despite the availability of a bed in the Tristar Summit ICU, the patient was sent elsewhere because the hospital did not accept the patient's insurance. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) of 1986—often referred to as the patient anti-dumping law—requires a hospital to stabilize a patient's emergency condition within its capabilities prior to transfer, and a hospital may not transfer an unstable patient unless the patient requests transfer or a physician certifies that the benefits of transfer outweigh the risks. Under EMTALA hospitals can be fined up to $50,000 per violation.
- Date:January 20, 2015
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