Skip to content

EMTALA Compliance

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) is a federal law that requires all Medicare-participating hospitals with dedicated emergency departments to provide all individuals with equitable access to emergency services, regardless of ability to pay. EMTALA applies to all UW Medicine hospitals. Specifically, any individual who may be experiencing an emergency medical condition (EMC) is entitled to receive a medical screening exam (MSE) and the necessary stabilizing treatment prior to discharge or transfer to another facility. UW Medicine has a robust and multi-faceted EMTALA compliance program to help ensure fulfillment of its EMTALA obligations, which includes:

  • An enterprise-wide EMTALA Compliance Policy, COMP.301, which applies to all UW Medicine hospitals and is reviewed and updated by UW Medicine executive leadership on a regular basis
  • Mandatory EMTALA compliance training which must be completed upon hire and annually by all UW Medicine workforce members who regularly interface with emergency patients
  • Systems for all UW Medicine workforce members to report EMTALA compliance concerns via phone, email, and electronic submission networks
  • Dedicated Compliance staff who respond to workforce members’ EMTALA-related inquiries and concerns, as well as collaborate with emergency department leadership on quality and process improvement initiatives to support EMTALA compliance
  • An onsite auditing program to regularly evaluate EMTALA compliance among all UW Medicine hospitals
  • FAQs highlighting key EMTALA requirements, various EMTALA-related scenarios, and pertinent UW Medicine resources

If you suspect an EMTALA violation has occurred:

  1. Contact Compliance directly at or 206.543.3098
  2. Notify your supervisor immediately and work with them to notify your facility’s ED Nurse Manager, ED Medical Director, and Medical Director’s Office
  3. Document and enter the information into your facility patient safety system