Utah’s new air ambulance companies raise the prices, and maybe danger, for patients

From the Tribune:

In the past year, four new medical helicopters have been established at Utah bases, bringing the number of rotary-wing ambulances serving the state to 20. Many are operated by profit-driven companies, which charge more for transport services than established players.

Federal law bars states from regulating aircraft routing, rates or operations, and Utah patients — who have no choice about which air ambulance company they ride with — have been hit with transport bills that top $35,000, far exceeding what even the most generous insurance plan will cover.

To complicate matters, the state can’t require companies to share aircraft tracking data, which would allow emergency dispatchers to easily determine which provider can respond best to an emergency, and ensure patients get from accident scenes to hospitals quickly and safely.


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