While you can never be refused emergency medical care under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), the act does not absolve patients of paying medical expenses at a later date. The hospital’s claim to recovering payment is also known as a hospital lien.
A hospital lien is placed on the possible financial outcome of a settlement. In the event another party is found at fault, and pays a sum of money as compensation for medical expenses and pain & suffering, the hospital may file an individual claim against the settlement sum to cover medical expense accumulated during your treatment. In some instances, the amount of the settlement may only cover the claim of the hospital. The hospital often has a right to the money even when it leaves nothing for the victim.
As the affected party, it is necessary to understand that choices are available which fulfill both the hospital and patient’s financial needs. Payment agreements can be established, conserving a greater portion of the monies to assist in the recuperation period. A competent injury attorney can aid in this effort.