How to file an EMTALA complaint

Your EMTALA rights:
How to file a complaint about a hospital emergency department

If you believe your EMTALA rights have been violated by a hospital emergency department, you can file a complaint under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).

Filing an EMTALA complaint isn’t a legal action. You’re helping to make sure hospitals stabilize emergency medical conditions and follow the law.

Prepare before you file a complaint

  1. Learn about your rights on the main EMTALA page.
  2. You’ll need to give details about what happened. For example, the hospital name, patient name (if you choose to), and what happened, including the date. You can file a complaint anonymously.
  3. File your complaint as soon as possible. This will make it easier to keep track of the facts, and it may help if you choose to take legal action on your own. 

To file a complaint

There are 2 ways to file a complaint about a possible EMTALA violation: 

  • Contact the State Survey Agency in the state where the hospital is located. 
  • Use the online form linked here. The federal government will review your complaint and might share it with the state.

File an EMTALA complaint

If you already filed a complaint and have more information or want to contact us, please file another complaint.

What to expect

If you use the online form and provide your email, you'll get an email confirming that the federal government got your complaint.

The federal government and the states work together to review and investigate EMTALA complaints. Often a State Survey Agency conducts the investigation, if there is one. After an investigation, the federal government reviews the case and determines if a hospital violated EMTALA. The process can take weeks or months, depending on the nature of the complaint.

Whether you file a complaint anonymously or provide your contact information, note that investigators might reach out to patients and other people they identify in hospital records.

If you provide your contact information, you’ll get a summary of the investigation.

If your complaint is about a situation EMTALA doesn’t cover, it will be sent to the right office, or closed.

Page Last Modified:
06/25/2024 01:57 PM