NASEMSO issues reminder on ED “parking” of patients

cmslogoAs a reminder to states, the practice of “patient parking” in the emergency department (preventing EMS from transferring patients from an ambulance stretcher to a hospital bed or gurney) for extended periods of time has been cited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) as a violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA.) According to CMS, “A hospital has an EMTALA obligation as soon as a patient ‘presents’ at a hospital’s dedicated emergency department, or on hospital property (as defined at 42 CFR 489.24(b)) other than the dedicated emergency department, and a request is made on the individual’s behalf for examination or treatment of an emergency medical condition.” Additionally, CMS has indicated this practice may also result in a violation of 42 CFR 482.55, the Conditions of Participation for Hospitals for Emergency Services, which requires that a hospital meet the emergency needs of patients in accordance with acceptable standards of practice. CMS documentation of their opinion, EMTALA- “Parking” of Emergency Medical Service Patients in Hospitals, is available in a letter to State Survey Agency Directors – View the entire CMS summary letter