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Main Points

  • EMTALA is a federal law that requires hospital emergency departments to medically screen every patient who seeks emergency care and to stabilize or transfer those with medical emergencies, regardless of health insurance status or ability to pay — this law has been an unfunded mandate since it was enacted in 1986.
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided health insurance to more people, meaning there’s less uncompensated care.
  • Emergency physicians are dedicated to providing the highest quality emergency care to all.
  • Emergency departments are essential to every community and must have adequate resources.
  • ACEP advocates for recognition of uncompensated care as a practice expense for emergency physicians and for federal guidance in how fulfill the requirements of the EMTALA mandate in light of its significant burden on the nation's emergency care system.

EMTALA Fact Sheet

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