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Important EMTALA Education

St. Joseph Medical Center recently self-reported an Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) violation when an on-call physician failed to respond to stabilize a patient’s emergency condition. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) completed an investigation into this incident and determined that in addition to the on-call physician’s failure to respond, St. Joseph Medical Center did not provide necessary stabilizing treatment for the patient, and did not have defined in the Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Medical Staff Bylaws who is qualified to perform a medical screening exam. CMS will revoke St. Joseph Medical Center’s participation in the Medicare program unless the organization corrects these deficiencies.

Within the Plan of Correction to address this EMTALA violation, we are providing an EMTALA bulletin and FAQs to all Virginia Mason Franciscan Health providers. The bulletin delineates the obligations of being on-call and the obligations of accepting patient transfers if facility capabilities and capacity are met.

Under the EMTALA regulations, providers failing to comply may be subject to $50,000 fines, Medicare sanctions, and referral to the Medical Quality Assurance Commission for investigation. Failure to comply also violates the Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Medical Staff Bylaws and Rules and Regulations.

If you have any questions regarding the EMTALA requirements or your responsibilities in complying with EMTALA regulations, please contact Dr. Kimberly Moore:


[email protected]