Emergency Medical Treatment

Nearly one in five civil monetary penalty settlements related to Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) violations involve psychiatric emergencies. That is the conclusion of a study to be publish in the May 2019 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine, a journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. Settlements related to psychiatric emergencies were costlier and more often associate with failure to stabilize than for nonpsychiatric emergencies.

Clinical emergency Medicine

The lead author of the study is Sophie Terp, MD, MPH, assistant professor of clinical emergency Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act is a landmark federal law governing emergency care, and in the past decade CMS has clarified that the law applies not only to medical emergencies and EDs, but also to psychiatric emergencies, many psychiatric intake areas.
Since 2002, the OIG has reached 44 civil monetary penalty settlements related to EMTALA violations involving psychiatric emergencies. Generally, they find that civil monetary penalties for EMTALA violations relate to psychiatric emergencies are associate with higher settlement amounts and are more likely to involve failure to provide stabilization compare to cases not involving psychiatric emergencies.
Civil monetary penalty settlements involving psychiatric emergencies tend to concentrate in a few CMS regions. Study findings and the case study describe highlight a number of key points; so important for hospital administrators, emergency physicians, and psychiatrists providing emergency and inpatient services to be aware of.

Psychiatric screening examinations

The research suggests that administrators evaluate and strengthen policies and procedures relate to psychiatric screening examinations; so stabilizing care of psychiatric patients boarding in emergency departments, and transfer policies. According to Terp, et al., recent large, notable settlements relate to EMTALA violations; hence suggest that there is considerable room to improve access to and quality of care for patients with psychiatric emergencies.

This is an important read for emergency department physician group leaders and hospital leaders. This article offers critical insight on an emerging issue; hence in the emergency department and prompts discussion on how to best prepare for treatment of psychiatric patients to comply with EMTALA obligations.

Nearly one in five civil monetary penalties relate to Emergency Medical Treatment; also Labor Act violations involve psychiatric emergencies. Settlements relate to psychiatric conditions concentrate in two of the 10 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regions; so with half of all settlements occurring in three states (Florida, North Carolina, and Missouri).
Average financial penalties relate to psychiatric emergencies were over twice as high as penalties for nonpsychiatric complaints. Recent large penalties relate to violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment; also Labor Act law underscore the importance of improving access to and quality of care for patients with psychiatric emergencies.