Fountain Valley (Calif.) Regional Hospital has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine to settle charges that it violated the federal "patient-dumping" law.
Under a settlement with HHS' inspector general's office, the 333-bed hospital, owned by OrNda HealthCorp, a Nashville, Tenn.-based hospital chain, didn't admit to any wrongdoing.
But in addition to the $10,000 civil penalty, the hospital agreed to run two newspaper advertisements that say it accepts Medicare and Medicaid patients and treats all emergency patients regardless of their ability to pay.
HHS accused the hospital of violating the anti-dumping law in February 1994 by failing to provide an appropriate medical screening to an emergency department patient. HHS said the hospital discharged the patient without stabilizing the patient's medical condition and failed to arrange a proper transfer to another facility.
The 1986 law bars hospitals from transferring medically unstable patients or women in labor to other hospitals for economic reasons. It also requires hospitals to provide basic medical screenings to emergency patients.
Fountain Valley settled with HHS in January. MODERN HEALTHCARE obtained a copy of the settlement last week under the federal Freedom of Information Act.