Trinity pays $40,000 settlement in alleged patient-dumping case


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Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014, 8:29 pm
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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com
UnityPoint Health-Trinity and the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, reached a $40,000 settlement in an alleged patient-dumping case.

According to the settlement, the OIG accused Trinity Bettendorf of failing to provide appropriate screening or stabilizing treatment to a person who arrived with an emergency psychiatric condition on May 28, 2010.

The OIG could have sought civil monetary penalties against the hospital, but before initiating formal proceedings, the matter was resolved through negotiation.

According to the OIG website, when cases are resolved by settlement, the settling party contests the OIG's allegations and denies all liability. No judgment or finding of liability was made by the office against the hospital.

Erin Platt, marketing and communications manager for UnityPoint Health-Trinity, said it takes its obligations under the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) seriously, and emergency room staff is provided with ongoing education on EMTALA issues.

"In this particular case, the hospital chose to resolve the outstanding allegations amicably with the Office of Inspector General through a monetary penalty rather than draw the case out via a lengthy administrative review process," she said.

"While we cannot discuss patient specifics due to federal privacy laws, we can tell you that we have changed our policy to ensure that all behavioral health patients presenting at the Bettendorf emergency department are either seen directly by a physician or have their case reviewed by a physician prior to discharge, if seen by a mid-level provider such as a physician's assistant initially," she said.

"Chart audits also now are conducted to ensure that behavioral health patients are being assessed for suicide risk and further crisis evaluation needed, as well as patient safety issues," Ms. Platt said.

According to the OIG's office, earlier this year, Dr. Gregory Bohn agreed to pay $35,000 to resolve an alleged violation of patient dumping while he was an on-call surgeon at Trinity Bettendorf.

The OIG alleged that Dr. Bohn refused to examine or treat a patient who had an emergency medical condition that required surgery.

He is no longer an on-call surgeon at Trinity Bettendorf, according to Ms. Platt.




















 



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