Patient Dumping Update 2014

Patient dumping can be defined as the refusal of a hospital to provide necessary treatment to an emergent patient or woman in active labor on a basis
(primarly the inability to pay for services) unrelated to the hospital' s capability to provide care or the patient's need for care.

In each Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) case resolved through a settlement agreement, the settling party has contested the OIG's allegations and denied any liability. No CMP judgment or finding of liability has been made against the settling party.

2014

06-06-2014
Trinity Medical Center d/b/a Trinity Bettendorf (Trinity), Iowa, agreed to pay $40,000 to resolve its liability for Civil Monetary Penalties under the patient dumping statute. OIG alleged that Trinity failed to provide appropriate screening or stabilizing treatment for an individual who came to Trinity's emergency department with emergency medical and psychiatric conditions.
06-05-2014 OIG Enforcement Case
Indiana Hospital Settles EMTLA Case involving Allegations of Patient Dumping
Effective June 5, 2014, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services entered into a settlement agreement with St. Vincent Jennings Hospital (SVJH). SVJH agreed to pay $25,000 to resolve its liability for Civil Monetary Penalties under the patient dumping statute. Specifically, OIG alleged that SVJH violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) by failing to provide an appropriate medical screening examination to a patient that arrived via ambulance to SVJH's emergency department with an emergency medical condition. OIG was represented in this matter by Associate Counsel Patrick Garcia and Eula Taylor.
06-05-2014 OIG Enforcement Case
California Hospital Settles EMTLA Case Involving Patient Dumping Allegations
Olive View - UCLA Medical Center (Olive View) - a county hospital in Sylmar, California - entered into a settlement agreement with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, effective May 23, 2014. The $40,750 settlement resolves allegations that Olive View violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd (EMTALA), by failing to provide an individual with an appropriate medical screening examination (MSE) within the capability of the hospital's emergency department in order to determine whether he had an emergency medical condition.

Specifically, the individual presented to the Olive View emergency department with signs of appendicitis and severe abdominal pain that he rated at a 10 on a 10-point scale. Despite his severe pain and symptoms, he was forced to wait for several hours to receive an MSE. After waiting for 6.5 hours, he left to seek medical screening and treatment at another hospital, where he was diagnosed with acute appendicitis with a large peritoneal abscess and had to undergo an immediate laparoscopic appendectomy. According to EMTALA, if an individual comes to a hospital emergency department and a request is made on his/her behalf for examination or treatment for a medical condition, the hospital must provide for an appropriate MSE within the capability of the emergency department to determine whether or not an emergency medical condition exists. OIG was represented by Associate Counsel Odies Williams, IV. Olive View was represented by Brandi M. Moore of the Los Angeles County Counsel's Office.
05-15-2014 OIG Enforcement Case
Mercy Hospital in Miami, Fla. Settles EMTALA Case
Mercy Hospital - a campus of Plantation General Hospital in Miami, Florida - agreed to pay $45,000 to resolve allegations that it failed to provide appropriate medical screening for a 24-day-old baby brought to the hospital's Emergency Department for an emergency medical condition, including persistent low body temperature. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services alleged that Mercy Hospital violated the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) by failing to provide adequate evaluation and treatment because it did not address the newborn's low temperature nor did it order any further laboratory tests, such as a blood count, blood chemistry lab, or urinalysis, before telling the parents to take the baby home. Minutes after leaving the hospital, the baby suffered cardiac arrest, kidney injury and potential injury to the brain from lack of oxygen because of an issue with the bowel, known as necrotic bowel. OIG contends that EMTALA is intended to protect vulnerable patients such as newborn babies who cannot articulate their own needs, and medical professionals must consider appropriate diagnostic techniques and adequately listen to family members presenting the baby's chief symptoms.
04-15-2014
Gregory Bohn, M.D., Iowa, agreed to pay $35,000 to resolve his liability for Civil Monetary Penalties under the patient dumping statute. OIG alleged that Dr. Bohn, the on-call surgeon at Trinity Bettendorf, refused to examine or treat a patient who had an emergency medical condition that required surgery.
02-07-2014
Claiborne County Medical Center (CCMC), Mississippi, agreed to pay $25,000 to resolve its liability for Civil Monetary Penalties under the patient dumping statute. OIG alleged that CCMC failed to provide an adequate medical screening examination to a patient who presented to its emergency department.

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