Interfaith Medical Center in New York has become the latest hospital to settle charges that it failed to treat an emergency patient for economic reasons.
The 522-bed hospital is at least the sixth this year to resolve allegations that it violated the 1986 federal patient "dumping" law (July 3, p. 19).
The 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 all emergency patients.
HHS' inspector general's office accused Interfaith of violating the law twice in September 1991 by failing to give an appropriate medical screening to the same patient who visited the hospital's emergency department on two consecutive days.
The hospital denied the charges but agreed to pay the federal government a $45,000 civil monetary penalty to settle the case.
Interfaith also 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.
Under the settlement, the hospital admits to no violation of federal law.
HHS signed the settlement agreement June 27. MODERN HEALTHCARE obtained a copy of the settlement last week under the federal Freedom of Information Act.