Will EMTALA changes leave emergency patients dying on the hospital doorstep?

William M. McDonnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Despite charges that it is at times ambiguous and overly burdensome, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) remains an important protection for patients, and a valuable instrument for enforcing public policy goals in the area of emergency healthcare services. The 250 Yard Rule is a small but crucial part of EMTALA, extending the statute's protections to emergency patients who have narrowly failed to reach the hospital's entrance. Following recent revisions to EMTALA's implementing regulations, some health-care law practitioners and senior federal regulators have opined that enforcement of the 250 Yard Rule will be dramatically curtailed. This Article explores the legal and public policy origins of the 250 Yard Rule and their continuing applicability in the current regulatory environment. The Article concludes that the regulatory basis for the 250 Yard Rule remains intact and that the legislative intent behind EMTALA, as well as ongoing public policy goals, dictate that the 250 Yard Rule be preserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-93
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of health law
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Will EMTALA changes leave emergency patients dying on the hospital doorstep?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this