Preventing EMTALA Violations Web Seminar CD
Understanding the law and most frequent CMS violations


Web Seminar Recorded Live October 19, 2011
Program Rated 4.5 out of 5 by participants 

Although the EMTALA regulations have been around for 25 years, violations — and resulting citations — persist in California hospitals. Surveyors are probing deeper than ever and expect EMTALA compliance with hospital policies, documentation of services and completion of forms. Complicating matters, hospitals are subject to EMTALA oversight by four different agencies. Hospital staff are often unsure of the right course of action, and fear of an EMTALA violation runs high — and rightfully so.

This web seminar provides a short refresher on the fundamentals of EMTALA, identify the top EMTALA violations occurring in California facilities, and outline surveyor expectations for compliance. A significant portion of the seminar is spent answering attendee questions.

Steve Lipton, national authority on EMTALA and author of CHA’s EMTALA manual briefly reviews the EMTALA obligations and roles of CDPH, CMS, HSAG and OIG. Commander Kelly Valente, EMTALA lead for CMS Region IX, will provide surveyor insights into the most widespread EMTALA violations, including medical screening and on-call issues, and offer guidance on preventing future citations.

Recommended for:
All emergency department staff including department managers, medical directors, nurse managers and physicians, in addition to behavioral health managers, business office and admitting managers, risk managers, health care attorneys, social workers, discharge managers, clinic staff and administrators, and compliance officers.


EMTALA 101 — top questions and answers

  • When does EMTALA begin?
  • What is an appropriate medical screening exam?
  • What is an emergency medical condition?
  • If an EMC exists, what further examination and stabilizing treatment is required?
  • What is an appropriate transfer for sending and receiving hospitals?
  • When must a hospital report an EMTALA violation and to whom?

Through the surveyor’s eyes — top violations in California

  • Medical screening exams—key components
  • Behavioral patients — homicidal, suicidal, other mental health issues
  • Acceptance of transfers and financial information, especially psychiatric transfers
  • On-call issues — inadequate documentation, MIA on-call physicians
  • Signage — simple and fixable errors leading to citations

Sticky EMTALA issues

  • Drawing distinctions between clinical errors and inappropriate screening
  • Registration issues — the differences between state and federal law


Steve Lipton, JD is a partner in the San Francisco office of Hooper Lundy and Bookman, PC and the author of CHA’s manual, EMTALA — A Guide to Patient Anti-Dumping Laws. A noted expert on patient anti-dumping laws, he has worked extensively with hospitals on EMTALA civil sanction matters and on compliance interpretation, policy development and education.

CDR Kelly Valente, PharmD is pharmacist surveyor and EMTALA lead for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Region IX. As team leader on EMTALA, CDR Valente is responsible for determining hospitals’ compliance with EMTALA, and to that end works closely with state surveyors and CMS’ Quality Improvement Organization.

Attendee Reviews

“We really liked the summary of common EMTALA violations presented by CDR Kelly Valente, as well as steps hospitals should take to prevent these violations.”

“I deal with EMTALA a lot, and I still found this to be an excellent review, refresher and update on the constantly changing environment of EMTALA.”

“Great speakers! Focused on the important and new items.”

“Great presentation. We gathered a few tips and need to remedy a few minor issues at our facility like signage at all ports of entry to the ED. Signs are already being printed and will be hung soon.”

“The one hour session was great, due to our hectic days in hospital nice to have a short session.”