In regards to pulic health, this policy provides equality in emergency/ life saving procedures despite economic barriers the patient may face.
This policy addresses public health in that it can reduce the amount of time between a 911 call and the start of patient care if the EMS responders feel more comfortable entering a scene before police arrive.
This policy addresses matters of public health by allowing first responders to carry concealed weapons on EMS/Fire to protect themselves in a location where law enforcement response times can be prohibitively lengthy, causing unacceptable delays in patient care or scene managment.
The policy offer a confidence situation for Medics staff and especially the first responder. It could allow them to handle more emergency cases and help more people.
It matters to public health greatly because without it, hospitals could refuse to provide critical treatment until they were satisfied that the patient could pay, which can result in death from delay or refusal of care.
This policy was, in part, designed to prevent "patient dumping" whereby hospitals would refuse to treat certain patients due to inability to pay for treatment and either refuse admittance or transfer them to other hospitals. Furthermore, it specifically addresses female patients in active labor, requiring that hospitals ensure that these patients are also treated and stabilized in the emergency department or receiving facility.
This policy greatly helped sculpt emergency medicine and public health. By giving the right to the patient to have emergency medical treatment required without proof of insurance or payment, astronomically influenced the amount of patients being turned away and their possibilty of developing worse illnesses or dying. In a paper I read, a young doctor in the late 70s and early 80s remembers watching a woman in labor give birth in the doorway of the hospital and proceed to borht her child in the parking lot after being turned away for not having insurance. By requiring hospitals and doctors to see that all ED patients get care, no patient was at risk of dying or complicating their baby's health and birth due to a lack of insurance, ultimately increasing public health efforts. Not all hospitals turned away their patients, but enough did to make it a public health concern and get Congress involved. EMTALA changed emergency medicine protocols but also public health expectations and actions.
It allows for first responders to be able to respond to bio and chem hazards without delay. A simulation they ran of a hazmat response resulted in all patients dying because of a delay in response, and they believe this could happen in a real disaster as well if not for this policy.
The policy addresses the immediate dangers to public health (weapons of mass destruction/ hazmat incidents) and the environmental hazards that may come from first responders attempting to decontaminate victims.
The policy can assist the control to water contamination, therefore improve the general public health. “The hazmat team identified the need to collect the water used to decontaminate the victims (deconwater) to avoid a release to the environment.”