Sunday, December 11, 2005

EMTALA Concerns in Florida

Excerpted from an article entitled "ER patients still face possibility of dumping" in the Palm Beach Post:

Nearly two years after the The Palm Beach Post first identified life-threatening issues with patient dumping at several of the region's emergency rooms, state inspection records show a crisis still exists. Moreover, the 11 cases since November 2004, in which state health officials confirmed that Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast hospitals failed to treat emergency patients appropriately, point up — despite even an intervention by Gov. Jeb Bush last year — how difficult it is to find a solution.

Hospitals nationwide are required by law to treat all patients who come to their emergency rooms. The law is intended to deter hospitals from dumping patients. But the problem identified by The Post in a series of stories in spring 2004 has continued, and some fear it is getting worse, according to hospital administrators and doctors.

"This is a countywide problem that is as bad as it's been," said Dr. Michael Collins, director of the emergency department at Jupiter Medical Center.

Showing the seriousness with which the federal government takes patient-dumping violations, U.S. health officials threatened this year to terminate four area hospitals from the Medicare program if they did not immediately fix problems that led to the violations, according to the state documents. In all four instances, involving Jupiter, West Boca, Wellington Regional and St. Lucie medical centers, the hospitals complied.

Although local hospital officials say most ER patients get the medical care they need, they acknowledge the violations illustrate a growing problem in the region's health system: the shortage of doctors willing to treat emergency patients.


At 12:19 AM, Blogger jessica said...

I have been victim to patient dumping when the hospital knows I will get worse and worse, if you need a specialist and your unisured you will get dumped


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