Know Your Rights in the Emergency Department – Biden Administration Releases New Guidance

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is promoting new resources to remind individuals about their rights in the emergency room. Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, better known as EMTALA, all hospitals that participate in the Medicare program are required to provide medical screening exams for individuals arriving at hospital emergency departments to determine if the person has an emergency medical condition. If an emergency medical condition is confirmed, hospitals must provide stabilizing medical treatment (or, if unable to stabilize the person within its capability), to appropriately transfer the patient.

SCDAA has heard countless stories of SCD warriors receiving inadequate care or even no care at all in emergency departments across the country. Under EMTALA, hospital emergency departments are required to:

  1. Give you an appropriate medical screening.
  2. Treat you until your condition is stable if you are found to have an emergency medical condition.
  3. Transfer you if necessary.

Learn more here.

If you believe your EMTALA rights have been violated, CMS now allows you to file a complaint online. You can file anonymously or provide contact information. The federal government and the states will determine if an investigation is needed. If so, the federal government will review the case and determine if a hospital violated EMTALA – the process can take weeks or months depending on the complaint. Filing an EMTALA complaint is not a legal action. You are helping to make sure hospitals stabilize emergency medical conditions and follow the law.

If a hospital or a physician is found to have violated EMTALA, the federal government can impose a civil monetary penalty and/or may exclude physicians from participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.


For Warriors

For Providers