surprise medical bills | Nashville Public Radio

surprise medical bills

courtesy U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Air ambulance companies are fighting Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander’s effort to ban surprise billing. They argue that limiting what they charge would hurt access to lifesaving transportation in rural areas like Tennessee, where nearly a dozen outlying hospitals have closed in recent years.

holmes.josh / via Creative Commons

A proposal from Sen. Lamar Alexander to end surprise medical bills could advance to the full Senate this week. The bipartisan legislation was shaped by many individual stories, including a mountain biking accident in Tennessee.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Odds are pretty good if you walk into an emergency room anywhere, it's going to be run by a company based in Tennessee. In roughly two-thirds of ERs, the doctors don't work for the hospital. Instead, they work for a physician services firm, and the biggest are Envision and TeamHealth.

Those companies treat the patients and handle the billing. And that has made them prime targets in the growing rage against "surprise medical bills," which has resulted in legislation being considered by Congress.