SARASOTA, Florida (AP) - Lee County has grounded two county-owned medical helicopters and fired the pilots because the emergency medical service used to airlift patients failed to meet federal safety requirements.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reportsthat the Bayflite helicopter and crew based in Sarasota County is now temporarily, and indefinitely, available to handle medical emergencies in Lee County.

Earlier in September, Lee County officials said they violated federal rules by billing patients for $2.9 million they shouldn't have for medical flights.

Lee County Public Safety Chief Kim Dickerson, in an email to county commissioners, said the county failed to meet federal safety standards required to bill patients.

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