Air ambulance lawsuit becomes class action
Four Okla. air ambulance agencies have been sued for overcharging for aeromedical services
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Over a dozen clients that were billed thousands of dollars for an air ambulance have asked a judge to certify a lawsuit as a class action.
Attorneys Noble McIntyre and Ed White are representing more than a dozen clients in the suit, and have asked a judge to certify the lawsuit as a class action.
One individual, former OSU basketball coach Tommy Wade, was flown by medical helicopter last year when he had a heart attack.
“$38,000 for a 20 minute air flight from Stillwater to Oklahoma City? I told them I can’t pay the bill. I can’t afford it,” Wade told KFOR.
Although Wade’s insurance paid the air ambulance company what they felt was sufficient, the company is still billing Wade.
Four air ambulance companies — Air Evac EMS, Inc., Air Methods Corporation, Rocky Mountain Holdings, LLC and EagleMed LLC — have been named in the lawsuit as defendants.
“They’re making profit margins of in excess of 750%. These are huge profit margins they’re trying to get from the average public,” White said.
EagleMed released the following statement to KFOR: “ We are still looking into the allegations and prefer not to discuss ongoing litigation, especially when all we have is the initially filed Petition. EagleMed has been, and currently is, in network with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma – the largest insurer in the State. At this point, we don’t know why we were sued if our patient had BCBS insurance. We would expect the BCBS agreement to deal with this situation. The only other EagleMed patient was said to have United Health Care insurance, which covered about half of the cost. If our patients need financial assistance with our invoices, we work with them – and we ask them to work with us when their insurance company underpays for services. We still would like to take our patient out of the middle and see if United Health Care will pay usual and customary rates.”
Air Evac released this statement as well: “Air Evac Lifeteam is still looking into the allegations and prefer not to discuss ongoing litigation, especially when all we have is the initially filed Petition. At this point, we don’t know why we were sued. Based on the Petition, the only claim against Air Evac is for transporting a patient who was injured in an on-the-job incident. We would expect an on-the-job injury to be covered by workers’ compensation with no patient financial responsibility. In addition, Air Evac has been, and currently is, in network with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma – the largest insurer in the state. Caring for our patients doesn’t stop when we get them to the hospital. If our patients need financial assistance with our invoices, we work with them - and we ask them to work with us when their insurance company underpays for services."