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FEDERAL LAWS PREVENT PATIENT DUMPING

Every day thousands of Texans who do not have medical insurance are turned away from hospital emergency rooms. This is in violation of federal laws if the person turned away does not have health insurance, but requests an examination or treatment for a medical condition. In that situation, the hospital must provide for an appropriate medical screening examination within the capability of the hospital’s emergency department, including ancillary services routinely available to the emergency department, to determine whether or not an emergency medical condition exists. A hospital may not delay in providing an appropriate medical screening examination or medical examination and treatment required in order to inquire about the individual’s method of payment or insurance status.

Certain conditions restrict a hospital’s ability to transfer a patient. Those conditions include but are not limited to:

1. The transferring hospital provides the medical treatment within its capacity which minimizes the risks to the individual’s health and, in the case of a woman in labor, the health of the unborn child.

2. The receiving facility has available space and qualified personnel for the treatment of the individual, and the receiving hospital has agreed to accept transfer of the individual and to provide appropriate medical treatment.

Before the hospital emergency room can transfer or discharge the patient, the hospital emergency room must provide the necessary stabilizing treatment for emergency medical conditions and labor, and cannot transfer that patient to another medical facility until the patient is stabilized. Hospitals receiving a transferred patient cannot refuse to accept an appropriate transfer of an individual who requires such specialized capabilities or facilities if the hospital has the capacity to treat the individual.

Any individual who suffers personal harm as a direct result of a hospital emergency room’s violation of these requirements may file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for injuries and damages under the law of the State of Texas.

If you have experienced patient dumping or if you have another personal injury related matter, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Bailey and Galyen either online or by phone at 1-800-218-6178

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And Now, Speaking on Behalf of Big Insurance: The Texas Supreme Court

Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court once again cast its arms around Big Business and shoved Texans out the door.

Not so long ago, if you were the victim of an accident wherein medical bills were incurred you could present the total amount of his bills to a jury even if your insurance had paid the majority of those bills. This was fair. After all, one of the elements of damages that you are entitled to is pain and suffering. One way to convey how much pain you suffered is to show the amount of bills you had to pay to not have that pain anymore.

But that has changed. The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the only bills you can present to a jury are the ones you still owe.

Let me give you an example: Let’s say that you are the victim of an accident wherein your medical bills are $100,000.00. Let’s further say that you were responsible enough to have medical insurance (which, by the way, you paid dearly for because medical insurance is not cheap). In our example, your insurance paid $90,000.00 of your bill and has a lien to get reimbursed of $10,000.00.

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the only amount you can present to the jury is $20,000.00 (the $10,000.00 left over from the original bill plus the $10,000.00 insurance lien). Will $20,000.00 give the jury an accurate picture of how injured you really were? No. So, whatever pain and suffering you would have received is now likely reduced by a large amount.

But let’s take this a step further. Under this new law, the person who hit you and caused the accident, caused you to incur medical bills, caused you to lose time from work, and caused you the pain and suffering now benefits from YOUR insurance.

Yep, the person who slammed into you AND his insurance company get the benefit of all those premiums that YOU paid. The bills HE caused are reduced by the insurance YOU paid for.

It is as if you are being punished for being responsible enough to carry insurance.

And here is a head scratcher: On one hand, we have Federal Government trying to force everyone to buy insurance while the Texas Supreme Court says, yes, but you better never use it in car accidents!.

Excuse me, Texas Supreme Court, but your bias is showing. Again.