U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine L. Chao recently announced the formation of the Air Ambulance and Patient Billing Advisory Committee (AAPB Advisory Committee) and the appointment of 13 members. The AAPB Advisory Committee is being established pursuant to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (FAA Act).
The AAPB Advisory Committee will advise the Secretary about issues relating to air ambulance services and patient billing. The AAPB Advisory Committee will review options to improve the disclosure of charges and fees for air medical services, better inform consumers of insurance options for such services, and protect consumers from balance billing. Based on its review, it will make recommendations regarding disclosure of charges and fees for air ambulance services and insurance coverage, as well as consumer protection and enforcement authorities of both the DOT and state authorities, and the prevention of balance billing to consumers. The Committee’s charter is available online.
As required by the FAA Act, the Secretary has appointed representatives from state insurance regulators; health insurance regulators; patient advocacy groups; consumer advocacy groups; physicians specializing in emergency, trauma, cardiac, or stroke; various segments of the air ambulance industry; and three categories not specifically identified in the FAA Act but allowed if determined to be necessary and appropriate by the Secretary. The Secretary has appointed representatives of nurses, managers of employee benefits plans, and the workers’ compensation insurance industry to these discretionary positions. The Secretary has also selected a DOT official to serve on the AAPB Advisory Committee.
In selecting AAPB Advisory Committee members, the Secretary focused on four main criteria: (1) representativeness (does the applicant represent a significant stakeholder group described above); (2) expertise (does the applicant bring essential knowledge, expertise, and/or experience regarding air ambulance issues); (3) balance (do selected applicants comprise a balanced array of representative and expert stakeholders); and (4) willingness to participate fully (is the applicant able and willing to attend the listed meetings and generally contribute constructively to a rigorous policy development process).
The AAPB Advisory Committee members appointed by the Secretary are:
- Dr. Michael Abernethy, Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, as representative of physicians.
- Katherine Berge, Government Relations Manager, American Heart Association, as representative of patient advocacy groups.
- Gregory Cote, Associate General Counsel, U.S. Department of Transportation, as DOT representative and Chair of the AAPB Advisory Committee.
- Jon Godfread, Insurance Commissioner, State of North Dakota, as representative of state insurance regulators.
- John Haben, Vice President for National Contracting, UnitedHealth Networks, as representative of health insurance providers.
- Patricia Kelmar, Director of Health Policy, National Consumers League, as representative of consumer advocacy groups.
- Thomas Judge, Executive Director, LifeFlight of Maine, as representative of air ambulance operators (community/state/government owned).
- Anne Lennan, President, Society of Professional Benefit Administrators, as representative of managers of employee benefit plans.
- Kyle Madigan, Director, Dartmouth Hitchcock Advanced Response Team, as representative of nurses.
- Asbel Montes, Vice President of Government Relations and Revenue Cycle, Acadian Ambulance, as representative of air ambulance operators (fixed wing).
- Christopher Myers, Executive Vice President of Reimbursement, Air Methods Corporation, as representative of air ambulance operators
- Ray Pickup, President and CEO, WCF Mutual Insurance Company, as representative of the workers’ compensation insurance industry.
The AAPB Advisory Committee will also include Rogelyn McLean, Senior Policy Advisor, Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as the member appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.