Virginia law could save patients money on nonemergency ambulance transfers next year

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A Virginia law designed to save patients money when they need a nonemergency ambulance transfer between hospitals will take effect March 1, WTKR reports.

The law requires hospitals to provide information to these patients or their authorized representatives before an air ambulance ride is arranged.

Under the law, hospitals must offer a choice of air or ground ambulance transportation and let patients know they'll be responsible for the transportation charges if the ambulance company is not in patients' network or if the transportation charges aren't covered in full by their insurance.

The law also directs the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services to create a system for disclosing to a patient a "good faith estimate" of what typical charges are for out-of-network air ambulance rides in that area, before the patient takes the helicopter ride.

The law comes after complaints from patients with non life-threatening conditions who received high air ambulance bills after being transported by helicopter.



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