Mercy Medical Center in Denver has agreed to pay the government a $30,000 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 labor to other hospitals for economic reasons.
HHS' inspector general's office accused the 248-bed hospital of violating the law in October 1991 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 fine, the hospital agreed to publish two newspaper advertisements noting 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.