Every day thousands of Texans who do not have medical insurance are turned away from hospital emergency rooms. This is in violation of federal laws if the person turned away does not have health insurance, but requests an examination or treatment for a medical condition. In that situation, the hospital must provide for an appropriate medical screening examination within the capability of the hospital’s emergency department, including ancillary services routinely available to the emergency department, to determine whether or not an emergency medical condition exists. A hospital may not delay in providing an appropriate medical screening examination or medical examination and treatment required in order to inquire about the individual’s method of payment or insurance status.
Certain conditions restrict a hospital’s ability to transfer a patient. Those conditions include but are not limited to:
1. The transferring hospital provides the medical treatment within its capacity which minimizes the risks to the individual’s health and, in the case of a woman in labor, the health of the unborn child.
2. The receiving facility has available space and qualified personnel for the treatment of the individual, and the receiving hospital has agreed to accept transfer of the individual and to provide appropriate medical treatment.
Before the hospital emergency room can transfer or discharge the patient, the hospital emergency room must provide the necessary stabilizing treatment for emergency medical conditions and labor, and cannot transfer that patient to another medical facility until the patient is stabilized. Hospitals receiving a transferred patient cannot refuse to accept an appropriate transfer of an individual who requires such specialized capabilities or facilities if the hospital has the capacity to treat the individual.
Any individual who suffers personal harm as a direct result of a hospital emergency room’s violation of these requirements may file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for injuries and damages under the law of the State of Texas.
If you have experienced patient dumping or if you have another personal injury related matter, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Bailey & Galyen either online or by phone at 1-800-218-6178