Emergency Room Used for Non-Urgent Services

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This essay will discuss the relevance of EMTALA and why the hospital emergency department sometimes used for nonurgent conditions. |

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, better known as EMTALA was developed due to the concern that patients that could not pay would be denied emergency medical treatment. This law confronted the hospitals that were allegedly transferring, discharging, or refusing to treat patients who did not have insurance. To protect these patients, the 1986 signed law required emergency facilities to must screen the presented patient to determine whether or not an emergency medical condition is present. If the screening determines that the condition of the patient is an emergency situation, then the facility is required to stabilize the patient before they can transfer or discharge the patient (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2012). This compliance is regulated by the CMS and can cause an expensive fine for the violating physician and the associated facility. EMTALA basically says that physicians must treat and stabilize patients in emergency situation even if they are unable to pay for the treatment due to them not having insurance (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2012). This presents a problem for some medical professionals. Is this law an injustice to emergency medical professionals? Emergency room professionals argue that they are being forced to work for “free”. As a physician, it is part of their Hippocratic Oath to practice medicine ethically. So this oath indicates that the ER physician that delivers care to an uninsured emergent patient is a proper government function (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2012). The question is how many charity cases are they required to do per year? Many would respond by saying as many cases that present themselves. This can be argued otherwise because the practice of medicine could then be labeled as a charitable service. Physicians and...
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