CMS authorizes federal investigation of Baltimore hospital for patient dumping

CMS has authorized federal regulators to investigate Baltimore-based University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus for alleged patient dumping after a bystander shot a video earlier this month that showed a patient discharged at a bus stop wearing only a hospital gown, according to NPR.

Though it is not clear what regulations are being investigated, CMS is responsible for enforcing the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which requires providers transfer or stabilize patients having a medical emergency. Fines for violations can go up to $50,000 or, in extreme cases, result in termination of Medicare or Medicaid status.

"If you get the federal government involved and they're looking into your actions and nonactions, it's a big deal, practically and symbolically," Frankie Berger, the director of advocacy at the Treatment Advocacy Center, told NPR.

In the video, the patient — Rebecca— is dropped off by hospital security at a bus stop, wearing nothing but her gown, in the midst of what appeared to be a serious mental health episode. The patient's mother, Cheryl Chandler, praised Imamu Baraka for taking the video while also reprimanding the hospital during a press conference last week.

"If the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown had provided Rebecca the slightest modicum of care, then Mr. Baraka wouldn't have had the opportunity to record the most inhumane lack of compassion and empathy for my daughter," said Ms. Chandler, according to NPR.

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