Jefferson County Memorial Hospital in Winchester, Kan., has agreed to pay a $2,500 civil monetary penalty to settle charges that it violated the federal "patient dumping" law.
The 1986 law bars hospitals from transferring medically unstable patients or patients in active labor to other hospitals for economic reasons.
HHS' inspector general's office accused the 128-bed hospital of violating the law in February 1992 when it discharged a patient from its emergency department without conducting a basic medical screening as required by law.
Under the settlement, the hospital admits to no violation of the law. In addition to the $2,500 fine, the hospital agreed to publish two newspaper advertisements telling the public that its emergency department is open to patients regardless of their ability to pay and that patients will be given a medical screening without any delay to inquire about their insurance status.