Emergency Medical treatment and Active Labor Act Law and Legal Definition

The Emergency Medical treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986 is a part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). The object of the Act is to prevent hospitals from rejecting patients, refusing to treat them, or transferring them to charity hospitals or county hospitals because they are unable to pay or are covered under the Medicare or Medicaid programs. The Act provides hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to person in need of emergency healthcare treatment.

The Act governs matter as to when and how a patient may:

1. be refused treatment; and

2. be transferred from one hospital to another;

The provisions of the statute impose:

1. an affirmative obligation on the part of the hospital to provide a medical screening examination;

2. a restrictions on transfers of persons who exhibit an "emergency medical condition" or are in active labor; and

3. an affirmative duty to institute treatment if an "emergency medical condition" does exist.

The Act applies to those hospitals which accept the payment from the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.