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UW Health's Medflight responds following ABC's Investigation into Air Ambulance Ride Debt

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Officials with UW Health's Medflight are responding to an ABC News report about the high price tag attached to many air ambulance flights.

The investigation from ABC's Brian Ross aired Wednesday night.  Some patients were charged up $40,000 for short flights.  What's worse, insurance refused to pay, citing air ambulance trips as excessive.  Many of the families in the story were left on the hook, with huge unpaid balances.

But unlike the air medical providers described in the story, Medflight is a not-for-profit.  UW Health's Critical Care Transport Manager Frank Erdman says that makes a big difference.

"Fortunately, I can say in the three years that I have worked  here, not a single patient concern or complaint about billing has reached my desk," Erdman said.

Erdman says he has heard about the problem in the for-profit industry.

"There are patient concerns about very high charges and very high high bills," Erdman said.

Erdman can't disclose how much Medflight charges per trip, but does say it's much cheaper than other programs.

"The charges that we charge our patients are a fraction or a percentage of what was cited in the story."

And Erdman says UW Health helps those who take Medflight find ways to pay their bills.

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