A second California hospital owned by OrNda HealthCorp has agreed to settle charges that it engaged in illegal patient "dumping."
Greater El Monte Community Hospital in South El Monte, Calif., has paid a $20,000 civil monetary penalty to resolve allegations that it violated the federal patient "dumping" law in November 1994. HHS accused the 115-bed hospital of transferring an emergency patient to another hospital without conducting a medical screening or stabilizing the patient's condition.
The 1986 federal dumping 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 patients who show up in their emergency departments.
In addition to the $20,000 fine, the hospital also agreed to run two newspaper advertisements stating that it examines all emergency patients, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.
Under the settlement, the hospital admitted to no violation of federal law. HHS' inspector general's office signed the settlement Feb. 20. MODERN HEALTHCARE obtained a copy of the agreement last week under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
Greater El Monte is the second OrNda hospital in California recently to pay a patient dumping fine. In January 1995, Fountain Valley (Calif.) Regional Hospital paid a $10,000 civil monetary penalty (May 8, 1995, p. 33).
Meanwhile, 94-bed Canton-Potsdam Hospital in Potsdam, N.Y., agreed to pay a $15,000 fine to settle similar charges. HHS said the hospital violated the federal dumping law twice in 1992. The settlement, signed Feb. 22, didn't describe the nature of the alleged violations, which involved two different patients.
The hospital admitted to no violation of federal law but also agreed to run two newspaper ads describing its admission policies.