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Doctors Group Says Chicago Hospital’s Plan To Divert Emergency Room Patients Is Close To Illegal “Dumping.”

Posted by Frank Spector | Feb 20, 2009 | 0 Comments

The Chicago Tribune (2/20, Japsen) reports that the American College of Emergency Physicians “condemned” a University of Chicago Medical Center “initiative to divert some patients from its emergency room” by redirecting patients with non-urgent injuries and illnesses to community hospitals and clinics. “In an unusual attack, the emergency physicians organization said the hospital is failing in its obligation to treat emergency patients” and “expressed ‘grave' concerns that U. of C.'s policy is ‘dangerously close to patient dumping,' a practice made illegal by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act.” However, the center says the initiative “is about getting patients the right treatment at the appropriate location amid a tough economic climate” adding “that as a specialized teaching facility, its costs are much higher than other hospitals', and that it makes more sense to refer patients elsewhere when possible.”

The AP (2/20, Johnson) reports that a statement from the medical center said “ACEP's criticism is ‘based on hearsay' and contains inaccuracies.” Hospital spokesman John Easton said that “the group made no attempt to verify the facts of the case.” Crain's Chicago Business (2/19, Colias) also covered the story.

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