Letter to the Editor: Freestanding EDs Must Follow EMTALA
The September article, “Could Freestanding EDs Be Good for EPs?” by Gina Shaw stated that Eric McLaughlin, MD, said “Texas' freestanding ED statute does not require them to live up to EMTALA, but they do so anyway.” (EMN 2013;35:1; http://goo.gl/sZiYXb.)
This is incorrect. The Texas licensing rules through the Department of State Health Services note under section 131.46(a): “A facility shall provide to each patient, without regard to the individual's ability to pay, an appropriate medical screening examination and stabilization within the facility's capability, including ancillary services routinely available to the facility to determine whether an emergency medical condition exists and shall provide any necessary stabilizing treatment.”
As legislative chair of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians, my understanding and what we have worked with the Texas legislature to pass is that any facility that calls itself a freestanding emergency department in Texas must be open 24/7 and must follow EMTALA rules. Thank you for allowing me to make this clarification.
Diana Fite, MD
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