I recently came upon an article in a health publication that discussed an area of the law that gets very little attention and yet is extremely important to many people, especially those who have no health insurance coverage. Although the article was written many years ago it is just as relevant today as it was when it was written.
There is a federal statute known as the Anti-Patient-Dumping Law. The law was created to deter and penalize Hospital Emergency Room Departments from failing to treat potential patients who have no insurance by refusing to admit them to the hospital, transferring them to another facility or discharging them from the hospital before the patient is medically stable. If a hospital fails to comply with the law they may be subject to financial penalties as well as to a lawsuit for any damages incurred by the patient for the failure to provide the proper medical care. This law applies only to Medicare participating hospitals with emergency departments. Here is a link to the article that provides detailed information about the law as well as some examples of how it has been enforced.