Patient Dumping:  Status, Implications, and Policy Recommendations

David A. Ansell, MD; Robert L. Schiff, MD
JAMA. 1987;257(11):1500-1502. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390110076030.
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DURING the past five years, there have been dramatic increases in patient dumping throughout the United States. Patient transfers increased from 70 per month in 1982 to more than 200 per month in 1983 in Dallas1; from 169 per year to 930 per year from 1981 to 1985 in Washington, DC (Washington Post, Feb 27,1986, p A14); and, in Chicago, from 1295 per year in 1980 to 5652 per year in 1984. Initial reports of this escalating problem were from large urban public hospitals, and it has now also been reported in smaller cities and rural areas (Wall Street Journal, March 8, 1985, p 27).2-4 Patient dumping has been recently documented at more than 40 public hospitals in Texas alone.5 We define patient dumping as the denial of or limitation in the provision of medical services to a patient for economic reasons and the referral of that patient


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