Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA)

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) is an act, which was passed in 1986 by the United States Congress. This act is aimed at allowing hospital emergency departments to accept anyone seeking healthcare services regardless of their insurance status or the patient’s ability to pay (Cleverley & Cleverley, 2018).

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This prevents participative hospitals from discharging or transferring patients requiring emergency services without proper stabilization of their condition (Cleverley & Cleverley, 2018). The main mandates of this law in providing healthcare involves medical screening, stabilization of patients during an emergency situation before being discharged from the participating healthcare facilities, and accepting patient transfers from other healthcare facilities (Cleverley & Cleverley, 2018). This law is beneficial in improving the health status of the citizens of the United States by having access to healthcare services during emergencies, which is important to patients.

However, this law may have a negative impact to healthcare financial resources by raising the healthcare costs, which are incurred in treating and caring for these patients (Paterson & Telyukov, 2014).

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There are also potential penalties for violating EMTALA law against hospitals and healthcare physicians, which may negatively affect the hospitals financially. This requires healthcare facilities to implement certain safeguards to ensure departmental solvency (Paterson & Telyukov, 2014). One of the safeguards includes focusing on having an accountable care organization, which will enable the organization to focus on the provision of quality healthcare services instead of volume-based measures or the fee-for-service aspect (Paterson & Telyukov, 2014). This will create efficient processes, which will enable the healthcare facility to be adequately prepared in different aspects, which may minimize the costs incurred by random admissions during emergencies (Cleverley & Cleverley, 2018).

This will also lead to an improved relationship between the organization and physicians to avoid some of the penalties associated with the negligence of the physicians. Another way may involve efficient control of labor costs, which may affect an organization’s solvency status (Kaissi, Shay, & Roscoe, 2016). Efficient control of labor costs and other costs related to the provision of care during emergencies will enable the organization to prevent some of the costs, which may be incurred during this time. Healthcare facilities can also reduce some of the costs associated with emergency admissions by outsourcing some of these services (Kaissi, Shay, & Roscoe, 2016). This will eliminate some of the administrative and operating costs as well as improve other functions in other departments, which will result in more savings in the healthcare facility. These savings can be used to address some of the costs incurred in admitting patients during emergencies (Kaissi, Shay, & Roscoe, 2016).


  1. Cleverley, W. O., & Cleverley, J. O. (2018). Essentials of health care finance. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  2. Kaissi, A., Shay, P., & Roscoe, C. (2016). Hospital Systems, Convenient Care Strategies, and Healthcare Reform. Journal of Healthcare Management, 61(2), 148-163.
  3. Paterson, M., & Telyukov, A. (2014). Healthcare finance and financial management: Essentials for advanced practice nurses and interdisciplinary care teams. Lancaster, Pa: DEStech Publications.

Cite this page

Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). (2016, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/emergency-medical-treatment-and-active-labor-act-emtala-essay

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