Q What important step must be considered before transferring a patient from one facility to another?

A Renee Holleran, RN, PhD, CEN, CCRN, and Carol Rhoades, RN, BSN, reply:

Several things should be considered to determine how to safely transfer a patient from one institution to another, including:

A patient may require transfer to another facility because of 3 main reasons: (1) the resources at the referring facility are not adequate to manage the patient, (2) the benefits outweigh the risk of transfer, and (3) the patient or family may request a transfer.1 Once the need for transport has been determined, a receiving facility and physician must be identified.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act defines the federal regulations related to patient transfer and transport. Financially motivated transfers are illegal, and hospitals and physicians who perform such transfers are subject to fines and other disciplinary actions.


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