PF+C Director Stephen Soule and lead counsel Ed White of Edmond, Oklahoma, filed a class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont on May 22, 2020 against Air Methods Corporation and its parent company, Rocky Mountain Holdings LLC. The lawsuit challenges overcharges to consumers, often when they are helpless or when their families are under dire stress, for the cost of air transportation from accident sites and between hospitals. Air Methods takes advantage of a loophole in federal law that Air Methods claims empowers the company to charge whatever it desires for its services and denies consumers recourse to the courts to contest the charges.
The Vermont lawsuit arises from the September 2017, transport of Mr. Robert Ballou from Rutland Regional Medical Center to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington. Mr. Ballou was charged $63,360.82, which included a “base” charge of $39,152.92 and an additional $24,207.90 for mileage. The trip was 67 miles, making the charge per mile $361.31. The transportation was not covered by his insurance.
It is often the case that the charged cost of air transportation is not covered by insurance, leaving the patient and their families responsible for the bill. If patients and their families cannot pay, Air Methods has a history of undertaking collection efforts, including litigation. A New York Times investigation explains how Air Methods, citing airline deregulation in the 1970s, has expanded operations and raised prices. The Times article can be found here.
Lawsuit seeks relief on behalf of Mr. Ballou and on behalf of all patients and their families that have been the subject of Air Methods’ business practices. A copy of the Complaint can be downloaded here.