Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Air Ambulance Guidelines: Time and Documentation

Time: If time is a critical factor in the patient’s recovery or survival or duration of ground transport would be excessive and potentially detrimental, air transport may be indicated. In general, if the ground ambulance can arrive at the destination institution within 20 minutes, it is the preferred mode of transport.

Expertise: If the health care institution does not possess the expertise to provide the definitive care required to stabilize the patient (i.e., advanced life support) and the ground ambulance providers in the near vicinity cannot provide assistance in providing that care, air transport may be indicated.

Coverage: If ground ambulance utilization leaves the service area without adequate ground coverage and patient outcome will be compromised by arranging other ground transport, air transport may be indicated.

Documentation: The above guidelines serve as a guide to documentation which is necessary to determine proper reimbursement and must specify the indication and justification for air transport. If guidelines are not met, or are met but not documented, the billed
transportation will be reimbursed at ground ambulance rates or denied altogether.

Services Requiring Prior Authorization:

Wheelchair transportation is not considered ambulance transportation and requires prior authorization by the beneficiary's local SRS office (who also bills the service).

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