13. The legal framework for hospital emergency care

  1. Jesse M. Pines MD, MBA, MSCE2,
  2. Jameel Abualenain MD, MPH3,
  3. James Scott MD4 and
  4. Robert Shesser MD, MPH5
  1. Sara Rosenbaum

Published Online: 30 MAY 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118779750.ch13

Emergency Care and the Public's Health

Emergency Care and the Public's Health

How to Cite

Rosenbaum, S. (2014) The legal framework for hospital emergency care, in Emergency Care and the Public's Health (eds J. M. Pines, J. Abualenain, J. Scott and R. Shesser), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118779750.ch13

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Director, Office for Clinical Practice Innovation, Professor of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy, The GeorgeWashington University, Washington, DC, USA

  2. 3

    Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, The GeorgeWashington University, Washington, DC, USA; King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

  3. 4

    Professor of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy, The GeorgeWashington University School of Medicine and Health Science, Washington, DC, USA

  4. 5

    Professor and Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, The GeorgeWashington University, Washington, DC, USA

Author Information

  1. Department of Health Policy, School of Public Health and Health Services, The George Washington University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAY 2014
  2. Published Print: 13 MAY 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118779804

Online ISBN: 9781118779750

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Keywords:

  • emergency department (ED);
  • EMTALA;
  • federal precursor policy;
  • hospital emergency care;
  • legal framework;
  • state liability law

Summary

Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) is a landmark in US health law. This chapter examines EMTALA in the broader context of legal evolution. It provides an overview of EMTALA's precursors, describes the law in some detail (along with its implementing regulations), and discusses key issues that have arisen in the law's implementation. The chapter focuses on EMTALA rather than on the entire body of federal, state, and local law that shapes emergency medicine. Reducing dependence on emergency department (ED) care represents a long-term goal of health reform. It is possible that system reforms that strengthen the availability and accessibility of ambulatory care in high-need communities eventually will achieve this goal. Until then, hospital emergency care stands as one of the great achievements of the US health care system, and EMTALA stands as the nation's most fundamental legal statement regarding equity in health care access.