Emergency Rooms / EMTALA, Part 1

Achieving Systemic Change Using the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTLA) when Hospitals Criminally Charge Patients With Mental Illness Instead of Providing them with Treatment

Mark Joyce, J.D.

The scenario of individuals with mental illness being arrested when they seek treatment at hospital emergency rooms is not uncommon. It is also a violation of EMTALA. In 2018 Disability Right Maine filed administrative EMTALA complaints against the only emergency departments that serve Maine’s second largest metropolitan area. Both of these complaints led to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finding violations of EMTALA leading to each hospital adopting substantive policy changes in order to keep their deemed status under the Medicare program. This workshop will examine the process that was used to obtain this result. The strategies used in working with clients, correction officials and state licensing agencies from the starting point of obtaining information for the drafting of the complaint to the issuance of the CMS findings and plan of corrections will be explored in this workshop.