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Non-emergency ambulance services and hospital providers: Evaluating institutional compliance

Laura J. Campbell ( is Senior Business Practices Analyst, Business Practices, Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston.

Some hospitals may have their own ambulance transportation, but many hospitals still rely upon outside ambulance companies to provide non-emergency ambulance transportation, including transporting the patient to destinations such as a facility with a higher level of care or discharge from the hospital to the patient’s residence. It may also include intra-facility transportation to off-campus units of the hospital, such as a patient traveling between the hospital and the hospital’s imaging center.

Hospital use of ambulance companies to provide non-emergency ambulance transportation is fraught with regulatory, contractual, and billing considerations. Given the potential exposure to civil and criminal liability, hospitals should be vigilant for continuing compliance with the law and their own policies.

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