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Notice

Medicare Program; Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) Technical Advisory Group (TAG): Announcement of a New Member

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

This notice announces the selection of a new member of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) Technical Advisory Group (TAG). The purpose of the EMTALA TAG is to review regulations affecting hospital and physician responsibilities under EMTALA to individuals who come to a hospital seeking examination or treatment for medical conditions.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Eric Ruiz, (410) 786-0247. George Morey, (410) 786-4653. Press inquiries are handled through the CMS Press Office at (202) 690-6145.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Sections 1866(a)(1)(I), 1866(a)(1)(N), and 1867 of the Social Security Act (the Act) impose specific obligations on Medicare-participating hospitals that offer emergency services. These obligations concern individuals who come to a hospital emergency department and request or have a request made on their behalf for examination or treatment for a medical condition. EMTALA applies to all these individuals, regardless of whether or not they are beneficiaries of any program under the Act. Section 1867 of the Act sets forth requirements for medical screening examinations for emergency medical conditions, as well as necessary stabilizing treatment or appropriate transfer.

Regulations implementing the EMTALA legislation are set forth at 42 CFR 489.20(l), (m), (q) and (r)(1), (r)(2), (r)(3), and 489.24. Section 945 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) (Pub. L. 108-173), requires that the Secretary establish a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for advice concerning issues related to EMTALA regulations and implementation.

Section 945 of the MMA specifies that the EMTALA TAG—

  • Shall review the EMTALA regulations;
  • May provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary concerning these regulations and their application to hospitals and physicians;
  • Shall solicit comments and recommendations from hospitals, physicians, and the public regarding implementation of such regulations; and
  • May disseminate information concerning the application of these regulations to hospitals, physicians, and the public.

The EMTALA TAG, as chartered under the legal authority of section 945 of the MMA, is also governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2) for the selection of members and the conduct of all meetings.

In the May 28, 2004 Federal Register (69 FR 30654), we specified the statutory requirements regarding the Start Printed Page 14901charter, general responsibilities, and structure of the EMTALA TAG. That notice also solicited nominations for members based on the statutory requirements for the EMTALA TAG. Section 945(b) of the MMA specifies the composition of the TAG. (For more information regarding the TAG composition see the May 28, 2004 (69 FR 30654) Federal Register). The EMTALA TAG held three meetings during calendar year 2005. (See the March 15, 2005 (70 FR 12691), May 18, 2005 (70 FR 28541), and September 23, 2005 (70 FR 55903) Federal Register).

II. Selection of New EMTALA TAG Member

In the March 15, 2005 Federal Register (70 FR 12691), we announced the EMTALA TAG membership. One of those original members, a physician representative in the field of psychiatry, is unable to complete her term of service. In selecting a replacement, the TAG must maintain the member composition described in section 945(b) of the MMA. We note that section 945(b)(2) of the MMA specifies the physician members of the TAG as follows: “7 shall be practicing physicians drawn from the fields of emergency medicine, cardiology or cardiothoracic surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, pediatrics or a pediatric subspecialty, obstetrics-gynecology, and psychiatry, with no more than one physician from any particular field.” For this reason and to ensure that the concerns of practicing physicians are appropriately considered during TAG deliberations, another practicing physician in the field of psychiatry has been selected to serve as a member of the TAG. The new member is Sul Ross Thorward, M.D. of Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Thorward was selected from the original list of nominees for the EMTALA TAG.

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Authority: Section 945 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA).

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(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program No. 93.773, Medicare—Hospital Insurance; and Program No. 93.774, Medicare—Supplementary Medical Insurance Program)

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Dated: February 23, 2006.

Mark B. McClellan,

Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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[FR Doc. 06-2569 Filed 3-23-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4120-01-P