New EMTALA rules went into effect on November 10, 2003. Each hospital with an
emergency department must now maintain an on-call list of physicians to respond to
emergency situations in a manner that "best meets the needs of its patients," and in
accordance with the resources of the hospital.
Hospitals with emergency departments also must have written policies and procedures for
situations in which a particular specialty is not available. For example, the policies must
address what happens if the hospital allows on-call physicians to schedule elective
surgeries during their on-call time, or allows physicians to have simultaneous on-call
duties at other hospitals.