Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Billing issues with air ambulances explored by Rural Health News Service, which needs more support to continue

Logo for Lieberman's column
A few years ago the Nebraska Press Association, with the help of other state newspaper groups and some philanthropic donors, established the Rural Health News Service, a series of reports by Trudy Lieberman, a nationally outstanding health journalist, and other writers. Lieberman's latest column is about the abusive practices of air-ambulance services, which have capitalized on the willingness of governments and private insurance companies to pay for their runs and have meant financial ruin for patients when their insurance didn't cover the five-figure bills.

"The trouble regulating air ambulances stems from a 1978 law that deregulated the airlines," Leiberman writes. "Under the Airline Deregulation Act, air ambulance operators are considered to be air carriers – like Delta and American - and the states have no power to regulate them. States have their hands tied and cannot regulate rates or their billing and collection practices."

The Rural Health News Service is a real service for people living in rural America, but it needs help from state newspaper associations and their member newspapers to continue, because its philanthropic funding is running out. For more information, contact Dennis Berens at dennis.berens123@gmail.com.

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