FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 24, 2015
From: Pat Murdo, Research Analyst for the Economic Affairs Interim Committee
Legislative Panel Reviews Air Ambulance, Other Issues
HELENA – The Economic Affairs Interim Committee of the Legislature will meet the big and small business of air ambulance services on the second day of its Dec. 1-2 meeting at the Capitol in Helena. The first day, which starts at 10 a.m. in Room 102, will include a look at Montana State Fund’s finances, licensing boards, the Department of Livestock, and the Division of Banking and Financial Institutions.
The meeting on Dec. 2 will start at 8 a.m. and feature panelists representing hospitals who either offer their own air ambulance service or contract with providers as well as panelists who are medical providers associated with ambulance services. The public is welcome to comment on air ambulance services as well as other agenda items.
Data from a survey of air ambulance services in Montana show that the majority of air ambulance flights are within Montana, with less than 400 of the flights listed in the survey resulting in a hospitalized patient being flown out of state to tertiary care centers elsewhere. The data does not include information on flights from air ambulances that represent big business, such as Summit Air Ambulance. Survey data does show an active air ambulance service in Northeast Montana, where Northeast Montana STAT Air flew 554 missions in 2014.
The Economic Affairs Interim Committee is looking at air ambulance services as part of a study resolution passed by the 2015 Legislature. Study subjects in the resolution include looking at membership-based health services and their interaction with health insurance, rates for services, and whether reciprocity exists among air ambulance services. Of the 10 responding air ambulance services, only two indicated they offer reciprocity.
Also on the agenda are:
- Financial information from Montana State Fund, which as a result of its board’s action Nov. 21 will be providing a bulk $35 million distributed to most policyholders, with some receiving in the range of a $2,000 dividend and others with sizable premiums getting a much greater dividend if their loss history is minimum. Montana State Fund also will give an update on its transition to regulation by the State Auditor’s Office.
- A study of the costs of licensing boards. This includes the Department of Labor and Industry’s indirect costs charged to individuals who must be licensed to engage in their occupation or profession.
- Budget and other information affecting the Board of Livestock and the Division of Banking and Financial Institutions. Both agencies are monitored by the Economic Affairs Interim Committee. The Board of Livestock is under particular scrutiny because of concerns about its finances.
The meeting will be broadcast over TVMT stations or available through the Legislative Services website, leg.mt.gov. If a member of the public wishes to comment, public comment will be available during the meeting, with all comments recorded as part of the audio minutes.
For more information on the meeting, see the agenda on the committee website leg.mt.gov/eaic or contact committee staff, Pat Murdo, at 406-444-3594.