If you do not have health insurance, you may think that Bozeman's many hospitals and healthcare clinics are essentially closed to you and your family. Several of those that we here at Cok Kinzler PLLP have assisted in the past have shared this same belief. Yet we can assure you that care is available when you truly need it. Federal regulations require healthcare providers to see you in certain situations, regardless of your ability to pay. Understanding what those are may help you identify when a facility may be violating the law by refusing you treatment.
Healthcare providers are obligated to follow the provisions of The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, EMTALA requires that:
- A hospital must provide you (or your loved one) with a medical screening to determine whether or not an emergency medical condition exists.
- If such a condition does exist, you (or your loved one) must be given treatment until the condition has stabilized or transport can be arranged to a facility that can provide the necessary care.
- The receiving facility must also agree to provide you (or your loved one) with care until you are out of danger.
EMTALA classifies an emergency medical condition as any for a which a lack of immediate care would place one's life (or that of an unborn child) in jeopardy. This extends EMTALA to include care for expectant mothers. Only providers equipped to provide emergency care are obligated to follow EMTALA regulations. This essentially limits your options to hospital emergency departments. Outpatient clinics cannot typically provide such care, and are thus not required under EMTALA to treat you.
More information on patient rights can be found by continuing to explore our site.