Flightmed archive for August-2001
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Flightmed archive for August-2001

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RE: Flying patients to other hospitals

I would hope that while the hospital administration is considering this
change they would enlist the help of competent legal counsel.  I believe
that there are flight programs that do operate under such a policy but I
don't have any knowledge of the challenges they've had except to note that
an important part of that strategy is community education so healthcare
providers and patients know up front that XYZ AirTeam only flies back home.

>From a free market perspective, it seems quite reasonable that a hospital
that invests in a transport service to gain a competitive advantage should
not be required to dilute that advantage  by transporting patients to a
competitor's facility.  It would also seem quite reasonable to require that
any hospital that receives patients from a transport service somehow
participate in  subsidizing any losses the transport service incurs.

But for better or worse, it's not a free market and your hospital's plan
could possibly run afoul of either state or federal law.  Conceivably, this
could even become an EMTALA issue since EMTALA has been extended to
hospital-owned ambulance operations.  In addition, if your program does
scene flights, there may be contractual provisions with your EMS authority
that might have an impact.  Here in Arizona, it's very problematic because
of state law, decades-old consent decrees, politics and contractual
arrangements so it's shouldn't be a surprise that we have only one
traditional model hospital-based air medical program left.

A complete legal review by a competent attorney is going to be the only way
to sort out the issues and make an assessment of the likely risks and
rewards of this change.  Once that is done, someone who is really in tune
with the market needs to take an independent look at the probable outcome
from such a change and determine if any negative impacts can be moderated or
avoided.  In view of the 20-year history, such a change carries a high
probability of creating public relations challenges in the community you
serve and the backlash could severely damage both the program and the
sponsoring hospital.

It may be a necessary change but needs to be addressed cautiously and
carefully, particularly from the legal perspective.  Your concerns are
entirely justified.



> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: flightmed-admin@flightweb.com
> >[mailto:flightmed-admin@flightweb.com]On Behalf Of LJPeterman@aol.com
> >Sent: Friday, August 10, 2001 10:40 PM
> >To: flightmed@flightweb.com
> >Subject: Flying patients to other hospitals
> >
> >
> >Our hospital based program is considering making us fly all of
> >our patients
> >back to our hospital, with very few exceptions.  This would end
> >a 20 year
> >history of taking patients to whichever appropriate facility
> >they or their
> >sending physician requested.  There is only one other hospital
> >in our town,
> >and they have recently opened a cardiac   cath lab which is direct
> >competition to our hospital's cardiac program.
> >I am interested in hearing from anyone who has gone through a similar
> >situation.  I have questions as to the legality of such a decision.  Any
> >thoughts?
> >
> >Larry, RN, EMT-P
> >
> >_______________________________________________
> >Flightmed mailing list

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