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EMTALA: The Basics

Strickler, Jeffery

JONA's Healthcare Law, Ethics, and Regulation: July-September 2006 - Volume 8 - Issue 3 - p 77-81

ABSTRACT The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) is the federal legislation governing the transfer of patients. This law is often confusing for healthcare providers. For this reason, it is often difficult for providers to understand what elements of this law apply to their practice. This article outlines the EMTALA requirements to clearly relay the critical elements of this important piece of legislation and to illustrate how EMTALA applies to hospital nursing practice. All nurses in administrative and management roles need to be aware of the requirements of this law in order to educate and guide their nursing staff so that the facility remains in compliance.

From the Emergency Services, University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill.

Corresponding author: Jeffery Strickler, Emergency Services, University of North Carolina Hospitals, 413 Wakehurst Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27519 (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.