top of page


Question 1: What are the federal obligations of hospital emergency rooms?

It is a law that a hospital emergency room must:

  1. Give you an appropriate medical screening exam by a qualified medical professional

  2. Treat you until your condition is stable

  3. Transfer you if necessary

Question 2: What is an emergency medical condition? 

An emergency medical condition includes:

  • you are experiencing contractions

  • you are in danger of your medical condition materially worsening.

“Stabilized” means your condition is unlikely to get materially worse.

Question 3: What rights and protections do you have under Medicare?

Your rights and protections under Medicare include: 

  • Be treated with courtesy, dignity, and respect at all times.

  • Be protected from discrimination. They can not treat you differently because of your race, color, national origin, disability, age, religion, or sex.

  • Your personal and health information is kept private.

  • Access to doctors, specialists, and hospitals for medically necessary services.

  • Medically necessary services are health care services or supplies needed to diagnose or treat an illness, injury, condition, disease, or its symptoms that meet accepted medical standards.

  • Get Medicare-covered services in an emergency.

  • Get information about your treatment choices in clear language that you can understand, and participate in treatment decisions.

Learn more at: Your Rights | Medicare

Question 4: What is the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA)?

  • EMTALA is a federal law

  • It requires hospitals with emergency departments to provide a medical screening examination to any individual who comes to the emergency department and requests such an examination,

  • It prohibits hospitals with emergency departments from refusing to examine or treat individuals with an emergency medical condition.

These are obligations of all  Medicare-participating hospitals that offer emergency services, regardless of an individual's ability to pay. 

Learn more at:  Know Your Rights | CMS

Question 5: How to better protect the Privacy and Security of Your Health Information while using personal phones and tablets?

  1. Keep data about your location and activity on your personal cell phone or tablet private

  • Turn off the location services and clear your history on your personal cell phone or tablet 

  • Consider using communication apps, mobile web browsers, and search engines that are recognized as supporting increased privacy and security. Check if they: 

  • Use strong encryption as default when transmitting data.

  • Enable technologies to limit or block tracking tools, such as cookies and web trackers.

  • Do not collect and store personal information.

  • Limit what personal information you send and store on or through the device 

  • Before disposing of an old cell phone or tablet:

  • Securely delete all stored data on it.

  • Remove and destroy the SIM card. 

  • Recycle the cell phone at an appropriate electronic recycling location

Question 6: What can an appropriate medical screening examination required by EMTALA include?

  • Appropriate medical screening examination MUST be appropriate to your signs and symptoms when you request emergency care.

  • It can include a wide range of actions like:

  • Simple processes such as a brief history and physical examination

  • More complex processes, such as taking samples and performing tests

  • It is an ongoing process during which your condition must be monitored until you no longer have an emergency condition.

Question 7: When does the hospitals’ EMTALA obligations end if you show up with medical emergency symptoms in the emergency room or other areas of the hospital property?

  • Hospitals’ EMTALA obligations end after you receive an emergency medical examination, are diagnosed, and receive treatment to stabilize your emergency medical condition.

  • The hospital does not have to cure the underlying condition that caused you to seek treatment.

Question 8: What does it mean that under EMTALA, a hospital must offer to transfer you if necessary?

  • If the hospital does not have enough staff or other resources to treat you, they must offer the transfer.

  • You have an unstabilized emergency medical condition, and in writing, you ask for a transfer to have it treated at a different hospital.

  • The doctors or other qualified medical persons sign a certificate stating that the expected benefits of transferring you outweigh the risks.

Question 9: What if you do not have insurance and you go to the hospital and ask for an emergency medical examination?

  • The hospital’s registration process can include questions about your insurance.

  • No matter what you answer about your insurance, you must receive an appropriate medical screening examination.

  • Questions are allowed as long as they do not intentionally delay your appropriate medical screening examination or treatment.

Question 10: What to do if you are denied emergency medical care?

Question 11: When can TRICARE beneficiaries find walk-in contraceptive services in California?

Question 12: How does the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) support reproductive health access?

  • PHI stands for Protected Health Information

  • There are 18 identifiers of PHI

1. Names;

2. All geographical subdivisions smaller than a State;

3. All elements of dates (except year) for dates directly related to an individual;

4. Phone numbers;

5. Fax numbers;

6. Electronic mail addresses;

7. Social Security numbers;

8. Medical record numbers;

9. Health plan beneficiary numbers;

10. Account numbers;

11. Certificate/license numbers;

12. Vehicle identifiers and serial numbers, including license plate numbers;

13. Device identifiers and serial numbers;

14. Web Universal Resource Locators (URLs);

15. Internet Protocol (IP) address numbers;

16. Biometric identifiers, including finger and voice prints;

17. Full-face photographic images and any comparable images; and

18. Any other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code.

  • HIPAA gives individuals confidence that their protected health information, including their sexual and reproductive health care, will be kept private by covered entities (health plans, health care clearinghouses, and most health care providers).

Question 13: What is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)?

  • FERPA is a law

  • It protects the privacy of students’ education records

  • It applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under any program administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Education records may include any student’s health records that are maintained by schools or their agents.


bottom of page