Air ambulances rushed 400,000 Americans to the hospital in 2015.
In many cases, they saved lives. However, an ABC News investigation found they can also leave families with sky-high bills. That even has some patients facing debt collectors and lawsuits.
The story had many wondering about western New York's air ambulance service.
7 Eyewitness News sat down with Mercy Flight's Vice President of Finance on Wednesday. Scott Wooton told us, as a not-for-profit, Mercy Flight does not have any shareholders and is not a publicly traded company.
Mercy Flight does bill insurance companies. Wooton said that an average flight costs between $7,000 and $8,000.
Sometimes, the costs have fallen on patients. However, Wooton added that Mercy Flight has created a charity care program to help cut the financial burden for those in need.
"You really feel for the patients, the patients will tell you that they are at a time of difficulty," Wooton said. "To add a financial hardship on top of that is something Mercy Flight, we couldn't sleep at night doing that kind of thing."
Wooton added that if a patient is unable to pay, Mercy Flight would never taken them to court or put a collections agency on their case.