In the past, hospitals could deny patients based on income and insurance coverage. In 1986, federal law made it illegal to dump patients if they cannot afford medical care. According to the U.S. News, the law states hospitals cannot dump patients before stabilizing them during a medical emergency.
Unfortunately, some hospitals still refuse to care for individuals or transfer a patient without providing meaningful care.
What is patient dumping?
Patient dumping occurs if an emergency room refuses to see a patient because of his or her insurance coverage or lack of income. The patient may have to find another facility instead. When this occurs, a patient’s condition worsens and may lead to serious injuries, worse illnesses, or death. Research shows that for-profit hospitals tend to transfer low-income or uninsured patients from their facilities. Despite not receiving enough care, uninsured patients with asthma, COPD, or pneumonia may be discharged entirely after stabilization.
What can patients do about patient dumping?
Patients should collect all documentation regarding the emergency room visit. When you go to the emergency room, the first goal of physicians and nurses should be to stabilize you. If the staff fails to stabilize a person and then releases or transfers him or her, they do not fulfill their duty. Additionally, if the hospital outright denies care or refuses appropriate screening, they may directly violate the laws to protect patients. Patients have a right to claim medical negligence.
All people have a right to emergency services and hospitals that ignore the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act must face repercussions for their actions.