CMS aims to expedite EMTALA probes

CMS will now allow patients to directly file Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act complaints with the federal government.

The agency launched a web portal May 21 to inform patients about their right to emergency care. The website also includes an option for patients who believe they have been denied care to submit a complaint. 

The new process aims to simplify reporting and expedite the government's ability to investigate complaints, White House officials told The Washington Post. Historically, patient complaints were first funneled through state health agencies. 

"If an individual believes their EMTALA rights have been violated, it is important that they can easily file a complaint," CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a May 21 news release. "We want to make sure that everyone knows their rights and can take action to help make sure the health care system is safe for everyone."

The change comes amid ongoing legal questions about how EMTALA applies to abortion access. On April 24, the Supreme Court heard arguments about whether EMTALA preempts Idaho's abortion ban in certain emergency circumstances. The court is expected to issue a ruling in the case by this summer.

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