Williamson Appalachian Regional Hospital in South Williamson, Ky., has agreed to pay a $40,000 fine to settle charges that it violated the federal "patient-dumping" law.
The 1986 law bars hospitals from transferring medically unstable patients or patients who are in labor to other hospitals for economic reasons.
HHS' inspector general's office accused the 100-bed hospital of violating the law in September 1991 when it transferred two patients from its emergency department to another facility.
The other facility wasn't identified in the settlement papers.
MODERN HEALTHCARE obtained a copy of the settlement last week under the federal Freedom of Information Act. It was signed by the inspector general's office May 12.
Under the settlement, the hospital doesn't admit that it violated the federal anti-dumping law. But, in addition to the $40,000 civil monetary penalty, the hospital agreed to publish two newspaper ads stating that its emergency department is open to all patients regardless of their ability to pay.