The Impact on Uninsured Patients in Emergency Departments - Essay Example

Published: 2023-11-06
The Impact on Uninsured Patients in Emergency Departments - Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  United States Law Medicine
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 561 words
5 min read


In 1986, The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) was enacted to address delayed, inefficient, or denied treatment by emergency departments(ED) for uninsured patients (Terp et al., 2020). EMTALA advocates and requires timely medical screening for patients during emergencies. Secondly, it requires emergency medical conditions to be stabilized. Thirdly, EMTALA requires the transfer of emergency care if stabilization services are missing at a facility (Terp et al., 2020).

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Federal Civil Suit

In their analysis of Moses v. Providence Hospital and Medical Centers, Inc., Solis and Guyer (2010) cited that third-party plaintiffs have the right to present Federal Civil Suit in case a hospital fails to fulfill the Patient Medical Emergency Stabilization Requirements as stated by EMTALA. The mentioned case involved Moses-Irons Estates as the plaintiff and the third party against Providence Hospital and Dr. Paul Lessem. Mr. Howard was taken to the hospital’s emergency room, where Ms. Marie reported his husband’s symptoms and, most notably, his threats to the emergency staff. The neurologist recommended diagnostic procedures and psychiatric evaluations. Mr. Howard was discharged without admission to the psychiatric unit on the grounds that he had no physical symptoms. He declined inpatient psychiatric unit admission and denied plans to kill his wife. Mr. Howard killed his wife ten days after discharge. In this case, the plaintiff argued that Ms. Marie Moses-Iron's death resulted from EMTALA violation by the hospital and the hospital's and physician's negligence.

EMTALA is a needed statute by Congress which aimed at curbing patient dumping (Moses v. Providence Hosp. and Medical Centers, Inc., 2009). As an unethical practice, patient dumping by hospitals entails sending patients to other facilities or turning them away when unable to pay for the medical care (Moses v. Providence Hosp. and Medical Centers, Inc., 2009). The statute outlines requirements for hospitals in handling emergencies in the emergency departments (Moses v. Providence Hosp. and Medical Centers, Inc., 2009). The statute is crucial to curb cases of inadequate, denied, and delayed treatments and, therefore, improved the quality of healthcare. The statute also gets patients into the health systems who would go untreated (Malizio, 2010).


Although the Federal district court had ruled in favor of the hospital, the ruling was reversed by the Court of Appeals. According to Solis and Guyer (2010), EMTALA requires that hospitals fulfill screening, evaluation for emergency medical conditions, and stabilizing emergency patients under Medicare. In the ruling, the court concluded that a third party who suffers personal harm from hospitals violation of the Act should suit for civil damages. Further, a hospital's obligation under the Act extends beyond the admission of a patient to the hospital (Solis & Guyer, 2010). The ruling also concluded that a cause of action is executed against the hospital and not physicians.


Malizio, W. A. (2010). Moses v. Providence Hospital: The Sixth Circuit Dumps the Federal Regulations of the Patient Anti-Dumping Statute. J. Contemp. Health L. & Pol'y, 27, 213.

Moses v. Providence Hosp. and Medical Centers, Inc., 561 F.3d 573 (6th Cir. 2009).

Solis, L., & Guyer, M. (2010). Hospitals' Obligations Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, 38(4), 610-612.

Terp, S., Wang, B., Burner, E., Arora, S., & Menchine, M. (2020). Penalties for Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act Violations Involving Obstetrical Emergencies. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, 21(2), 235.

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