We had recently covered senator McCaskill’s medical flight bill that seeks to cut down the costs of medical flight services. One major thing that the bill will do is separate medical flight services from general aviation, thus cutting it off from the protection that Airline Deregulation Act provides. Experts feel that this will also limit the medical flight services from flying to the most appropriate facilities in accordance to the medical requirements of the patients. About 30% of medical flights cross state borders in the US and the new regulation may prove to be a hindrance for this.
Medical Flight Services are Necessary in Rural Areas
The United States, in recent times, has seen closure of several rural hospitals. In fact, one statistic says that they are closing at the rate of one per month. This alarming trend leaves the rural population vulnerable in times of medical emergencies when medical flight services are the only recourse. Legislations that discourage air ambulances can prove fatal to the needy. University of North Carolina Sheps Center for Health Services Research has said that, in the past 8 years, over 80 rural hospitals have closed down.
Medicare Rates for Medical Flights Warrant Updates Say Experts
It is rather alarming to find that medical flight rates have not been updated in the past two decades. The air ambulance service providers are still reimbursed at the same old rates. The industry has been demanding a revision in rates for quite some time, which seems fair.
It is also necessary to view medical flights as essential medical services that must be covered at all costs, which is not the case currently. Today, insurance providers only reimburse medical flight charges if the service providers are in-network. This needs to change too.
In the end, the hope is that the citizens get uninterrupted access to care while not having to shell out a huge amount.