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AHA backs decision to keep status quo on EMTALA


By Ashok Selvam
Posted: March 27, 2012 - 5:00 pm ET
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The American Hospital Association announced its support for the CMS' decision to leave the current Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act regulations unaltered.

The AHA submitted comments Monday to the CMS backing the choice. The government made its announcement earlier this year that it would maintain status quo.

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“The current policies are the appropriate interpretation of the law and are achieving what Congress intended,” the AHA comments read (PDF). “They do not need to be revisited. If anything, a move by CMS to expand the scope of EMTALA is out-of-step with President Obama's call for improving regulations by minimizing burden and unnecessary regulation.”

CMS officials had mulled changes for about a year, considering whether EMTALA mandated that hospitals with special capabilities had to accept patient transfers. Thus, the CMS pondered the “anti-patient-dumping statute,” and solicited public comment. The issue has been revisited on multiple occasions, including in September 2003, when EMTALA requirements were loosened for hospitals.

“Hospitals take seriously their EMTALA responsibilities and all other responsibilities to their patients,” a letter from AHA Executive Vice President Richard Pollack to the CMS read. “It is unclear why CMS, after 10 years of recurring examination of this issue, and the apparent lack of ‘real world' examples that hospitals are not meeting their responsibilities for patient care, is again asking this question.”


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