The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) mandates that a physician provide care to stabilize a patient who presents at a hospital emergency department. Surgeons in emergency settings provide complex, high-risk surgical care for severely injured patients, often late at night and at the expense of their elective surgery schedules the following day. Unfortunately, the high liability risk associated with providing such care is broadly acknowledged as a key factor contributing to the growing shortage of specialists participating in emergency on-call panels.
H.R. 548/S. 527, the Health Care Safety Net Enhancement Act of 2017, sponsored by Representatives Charles Dent (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) in the House and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) in the Senate, is legislation that would improve patient access to emergency care services by providing liability protection through the Federal Tort Claims Act to those providers working under the EMTALA mandate.
We need surgeons who provide care under EMTALA to contact their Representative and tell them to cosponsor H.R. 548.