Inpatient means an individual who is admitted to a hospital for bed occupancy for purposes of receiving inpatient hospital services as described in 409.10 of this chapter with the expectation that he or she will remain at least overnight and occupy a bed even though the situation later develops that the individual can be discharged or transferred to another hospital and does not actually use a hospital bed overnight.


42 CFR § 489.24

Scoping language

Applicability of provisions of this section.
(1) In the case of a hospital that has an emergency department, if an individual (whether or not eligible for Medicare benefits and regardless of ability to pay) “comes to the emergency department”, as defined in paragraph (b) of this section, the hospital must -
(i) Provide an appropriate medical screening examination within the capability of the hospital's emergency department, including ancillary services routinely available to the emergency department, to determine whether or not an emergency medical condition exists. The examination must be conducted by an individual(s) who is determined qualified by hospital bylaws or rules and regulations and who meets the requirements of § 482.55 of this chapter concerning emergency services personnel and direction; and
(ii) If an emergency medical condition is determined to exist, provide any necessary stabilizing treatment, as defined in paragraph (d) of this section, or an appropriate transfer as defined in paragraph (e) of this section. If the hospital admits the individual as an inpatient for further treatment, the hospital's obligation under this section ends, as specified in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.
(i) When a waiver has been issued in accordance with section 1135 of the Act that includes a waiver under section 1135(b)(3) of the Act, sanctions under this section for an inappropriate transfer or for the direction or relocation of an individual to receive medical screening at an alternate location do not apply to a hospital with a dedicated emergency department if the following conditions are met:
(A) The transfer is necessitated by the circumstances of the declared emergency in the emergency area during the emergency period.
(B) The direction or relocation of an individual to receive medical screening at an alternate location is pursuant to an appropriate State emergency preparedness plan or, in the case of a public health emergency that involves a pandemic infectious disease, pursuant to a State pandemic preparedness plan.
(C) The hospital does not discriminate on the basis of an individual's source of payment or ability to pay.
(D) The hospital is located in an emergency area during an emergency period, as those terms are defined in section 1135(g)(1) of the Act.
(E) There has been a determination that a waiver of sanctions is necessary.
(ii) A waiver of these sanctions is limited to a 72-hour period beginning upon the implementation of a hospital disaster protocol, except that, if a public health emergency involves a pandemic infectious disease (such as pandemic influenza), the waiver will continue in effect until the termination of the applicable declaration of a public health emergency, as provided under section 1135(e)(1)(B) of the Act.

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