Awareness : Did You Know? 2015-2016

Did You Know? Weekly Educational Series 48

EMTALA Transfers

If a provider cannot stabilize the patient, the patient can be admitted as an inpatient or transferred to another hospital.  Patients can also request to be transferred.  The transfer needs to be by safe means, and a copy of the patient’s medical record should be provided to the receiving hospital.

Several requirements must be met before transferring an unstable patient:

  • The consent of the receiving hospital must be obtained;
  • The patient’s condition must be documented; and
  • The physician must attest (in writing) that the medical benefits expected at the receiving facility outweigh the risk of transfer.

If the patient requests the transfer but the physician disagrees, that should be documented and the patient should sign a request for transfer form.  The patient written acknowledgement of his refusal to consent to a physician-recommended transfer should also be documented.