AMA Update: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Enforcement of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA)

This week Secretary Becerra sent a letter to all hospitals and healthcare providers reminding them of their obligation to comply with EMTALA.  The Secretary’s letter clarifies that EMTALA requirements preempt any state laws that restrict access to stabilizing medical treatment, including abortion procedures and other treatments that may result in the termination of a pregnancy.

Read the letter here.

CMS also released an updated guidance to hospitals reinforcing that EMTALA requirements apply to all hospitals in all states regardless of the state law to the contrary.

Yesterday, CMS held a conference call with stakeholders on these communications.  There were a number of questions about preemption.  CMS officials repeatedly stated that EMTALA would preempt state law and would be a defense for criminal prosecutions.  The American Medical Association (AMA) staff fully anticipate that this issue will end up in the courts.

The AMA has been and will remain in touch with the Federation about EMTALA and other emerging issues as a result of Dobbs.