*For all press release inquiries, please reach out to Theresa Meyer (Theresa Meyer@mail.house.gov)

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Walsh, and Department of the Treasury Secretary Yellen to express concern about implementation of the No Surprises Act, which could jeopardize emergency air medical transport services in Minnesota and throughout the nation.

“Emergency air medical transport is a necessary and life-saving service. Any threat to its availability could mean life or death for Americans across the country. The Biden Administration has set forth broad standards in their proposed coverage rule that will make the reimbursement process for air ambulatory services unpredictable and hinder the ability of companies, like Life Link III in Minnesota to offer these services to the American people,” said Emmer.

“Specifically, the lack of a credible database for these services to measure reimbursement rates will be catastrophic for the industry, leading to fewer emergency air medical transport services. In addition, individuals who require these services will be left navigating a cumbersome insurance claims process when coverage is inevitably denied for this life-saving service,” Emmer continued.

“This is truly unacceptable. I am urging the Biden Administration to revise this decision and ensure the rule respects the intent of Congress and preserves access to air emergency medical transport services,” Emmer concluded.

Background:
Congressman Emmer expressed concern with the recent release of the interim final rule (IFR) for Section 102 of the No Surprises Act. This rule could jeopardize emergency air medical transport services, like those provided by Life Link III in Minnesota.

Life Link III was founded in 1985 as one of the first independent, non-profit medical consortiums in the country to transport critically ill patients by air. Today, Life Link III is the largest air medical consortium in the country, providing exclusive hospital-based specialty-team transport, for which it has been internationally recognized.

Congressman Emmer is concerned Life Link III’s services could be especially hindered by the IFR’s changes to the qualifying payment amount (QPA), which establishes insurance reimbursement for air medical services.

Based on the proposed rule, Congressman Emmer outlined the following concerns to the Biden Administration:

  • In 2023 and following years the QPA will be changed to rely on the median of 25% of claims paid. In situations where there is insufficient data to find a median, insurers will be able to use an eligible database to determine the QPA. However, there is currently no credible database with sufficient data specific to air ambulatory services.
  • The QPA does not include any single-case agreements, which often represent a significant number of contracts. This may skew the QPA downward and lead to increased disputes over payment disagreements.
  • Most concerning for Americans is denied patients will be forced to navigate an insurer’s appeals process to avoid full financial liability for these critical services.

Read the letter here.

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