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Air Methods Statement on Florida HB 747

by Air Methods | Sep 28, 2020

On Sept. 18, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 747: Coverage for Air Ambulance Services into law. Air Methods has released the following statement on the legislation:

Two years ago, when Gov. Ron DeSantis was on the campaign trail, he praised “patient-centered, market-based insurance.” But that notion suffered a severe setback for patients when the Florida State Legislature passed and, on Sept. 18, Gov. DeSantis signed, HB 747.

This bill – signed into law not only during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in the middle of hurricane season – incentivizes health insurance companies in Florida to exit in-network agreements with air medical services, severely limiting the transport and prehospital care air ambulances provide to critically injured or ill patients. In short, it puts Floridians at risk while making insurance companies more profitable.

Several major U.S. health insurers recently reported massive second-quarter earnings, more than double what they were in 2019. These enormous gains are in stark contrast to the financial hit many hospitals have taken during the pandemic. Air medical services partner with these facilities to transport patients to appropriate sites of care in a timely manner, thus limiting the cost of care hospitals incur. HB 747 puts this lifeline at risk in many communities.

This legislation was pushed through unilaterally by health insurers with no public health data to support it. Their bill treats air medical services as an excessive element of Florida’s healthcare system. That is an incredibly dangerous stance, and its effect will be to compromise Floridians’ access to care in favor of health insurers’ balance sheets.

Rather than pushing for health insurance companies to go in-network with air medical services, the state government is essentially setting rates based on confidential reimbursement agreements. Health insurers now have the greenlight to put their profits ahead of the interests of our Florida patients. It is Big Government at its worst and price-setting has no place in a patient-centric health system.

HB 747 allows Florida insurers to set the reimbursement bar so low that they now have no reason to negotiate reasonable rates with providers or stay in existing in-network agreements that currently cover patients. It leaves Florida vulnerable to losing access to emergency air medical services, because there is no guarantee that providers can survive on what health insurers will now choose to pay. Moreover, HB 747 was not needed to protect patients. Health insurers could have protected patients years ago by negotiating in-network agreements with Florida’s emergency air medical providers, but many choose not to. As a result, the very bills that HB 747 claims to protect patients from are a consequence of the health insurers refusing to adequately cover emergency care.

With air medical bases throughout the state, Air Methods has worked hard to show the benefits of going in-network and has done just that with Florida Blue. We have seen our partnership with Florida Blue directly benefit our patients by simplifying the billing process for them and lowering their out-of-pocket costs. Now we need insurance companies like Aetna, Cigna, and UnitedHealthcare to do the same thing. Yet HB 747 all but guarantees these three companies will walk away from any negotiations and could jeopardize our other in-network agreements.

Since the pandemic, Air Methods has transported more than 120 suspected COVID patients in Florida. Our dedicated crews will continue to work hard to treat and transport any Floridian who requires our care. Meanwhile, our Patient Advocacy program has continued to assist any of our patients put in the middle of the billing process by their health insurer and has successfully lowered our patients’ average out of pocket costs to only $167. Unfortunately, HB 747 provides insurance companies a government-mandated excuse to continue to keep patients out-of-network for air medical services.  

We are asking the federal courts to overturn this law and protect Florida citizens’ access to much-needed emergency air medical care.

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  1. rr | Oct 21, 2020
    Softbank made commitments to secure jobs and keep ARM's headquarters in the UK until September next year. So far, when you read the announcement coming from Nvidia they said they will honour that Softbank has made at the time, said Sonja Laud, chief investment officer at Legal & General Investment Management. But with the expiry about to happen and obviously the Brexit negotiations under way it will be very interesting to see how this develops in the future. This appears to address concerns that British jobs would be lost and decision-making shifted to the US. Last week, the Labour Party had urged the government to intervene. But two of ARM's co-founders have raised other issues about the takeover. Hermann Hauser and Tudor Brown had suggested ARM should remain neutral, rather than be owned by a company like Nvidia, which produces its own processors. The concern is that there would be a conflict of interest since ARM's clients would become dependent on a business with which many also compete for sales. Moreover, the two co-founders also claimed that once ARM was owned by an American firm, Washington could try to block Chinese companies from using its knowhow as part of a wider trade clash between the countries. If ARM becomes a US subsidiary of a US company, it falls under the Cfius [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] regulations, Mr Hauser told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. That means that if hundreds of UK companies that incorporate ARM's technology in their products, want to sell it, and export it to anywhere in the world including China - which is a major market - the decision on whether they will be allowed to export it will be made in the White House and not in Downing Street. He added that he believed the pledge to retain and increase the number of UK jobs was meaningless unless UK ministers stepped in to make it legally enforceable. But ARM's chief executive played down the threat of export bans. It isn't to do with the ownership of the company, it's all to do with analysis of the product itself, Simon Segars told the BBC. The majority of our products are designed in the UK or outside the US, and the majority of our products don't fall under much of the US export control set of rules. Mr Huang added that ARM had some of the finest computer scientists in the world in Cambridge and he intended to both retain them and attract others to what would become Nvidia's largest site in Europe. The UK prime minister's spokesman said ministers have spoken to both companies, adding that the government would be scrutinising the deal including what it means for the Cambridge HQ. ARM creates computer chip designs that others then customise to their own ends. It also develops instruction sets, which define how software controls processors. It is based in Cambridge but also has offices across the world, including a joint venture in Shenzhen, China. Hundreds of companies license its innovations including Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Qualcomm. To date, ARM says 180 billion chips have been made based on its solutions. When Softbank acquired ARM, it promised to keep the company's headquarters in the UK and to increase the number of local jobs, which it did. Softbank's founder Masayoshi Son described the firm as being a crystal ball that would help him predict where tech was heading. But losses on other investments, including the office rental company WeWork, prompted a rethink. California-headquartered Nvidia overtook Intel to become the world's most valuable chipmaker in July. Until now, it has specialised in high-end graphics processing units (GPUs). These are commonly used by gamers to deliver more detailed visuals, as well as by professionals for tasks including scientific research, machine learning, and cryptocurrency mining. Nvidia is also one of ARM's clients, using its designs to create its line-up of Tegra central processing units (CPUs). Under the terms of the deal, Nvidia will pay Softbank $21.5bn in its own stock and $12bn in cash. It will follow with up to a further $5bn in cash or stock if certain targets are met. Nvidia will also issue $1.5bn in equity to ARM's employees. But experts say one risk Nvidia faces is that the takeover could encourage ARM's wider client list to shift focus to a rival type of chip technology, which lags behind in terms of adoption but has the benefit of not being controlled by one company. ARM is facing growing competition from RISC-V, an open-source architecture, wrote CCS Insight's Geoff Blaber in a recent research note. If its partners believed that ARM's integrity and independence was compromised, it would accelerate the growth of RISC-V and in the process devalue ARM. Mr Blaber also suggested regulators might block the deal. This process will take months if not years with a high chance of failure, he told the BBC. Mr Huang has said that he expects it to take more than a year to educate regulators and answer all their questions, but said he had every confidence they would ultimately approve Softbank made commitments to secure jobs and keep ARM's headquarters in the UK until September next year. So far, when you read the announcement coming from Nvidia they said they will honour that Softbank has made at the time, said Sonja Laud, chief investment officer at Legal & General Investment Management. But with the expiry about to happen and obviously the Brexit negotiations under way it will be very interesting to see how this develops in the future. This appears to address concerns that British jobs would be lost and decision-making shifted to the US. Last week, the Labour Party had urged the government to intervene. But two of ARM's co-founders have raised other issues about the takeover. Hermann Hauser and Tudor Brown had suggested ARM should remain neutral, rather than be owned by a company like Nvidia, which produces its own processors. The concern is that there would be a conflict of interest since ARM's clients would become dependent on a business with which many also compete for sales. Moreover, the two co-founders also claimed that once ARM was owned by an American firm, Washington could try to block Chinese companies from using its knowhow as part of a wider trade clash between the countries. If ARM becomes a US subsidiary of a US company, it falls under the Cfius [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] regulations, Mr Hauser told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. That means that if hundreds of UK companies that incorporate ARM's technology in their products, want to sell it, and export it to anywhere in the world including China - which is a major market - the decision on whether they will be allowed to export it will be made in the White House and not in Downing Street. He added that he believed the pledge to retain and increase the number of UK jobs was meaningless unless UK ministers stepped in to make it legally enforceable. But ARM's chief executive played down the threat of export bans. It isn't to do with the ownership of the company, it's all to do with analysis of the product itself, Simon Segars told the BBC. The majority of our products are designed in the UK or outside the US, and the majority of our products don't fall under much of the US export control set of rules. Mr Huang added that ARM had some of the finest computer scientists in the world in Cambridge and he intended to both retain them and attract others to what would become Nvidia's largest site in Europe. The UK prime minister's spokesman said ministers have spoken to both companies, adding that the government would be scrutinising the deal including what it means for the Cambridge HQ. ARM creates computer chip designs that others then customise to their own ends. It also develops instruction sets, which define how software controls processors. It is based in Cambridge but also has offices across the world, including a joint venture in Shenzhen, China. Hundreds of companies license its innovations including Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Qualcomm. To date, ARM says 180 billion chips have been made based on its solutions. When Softbank acquired ARM, it promised to keep the company's headquarters in the UK and to increase the number of local jobs, which it did. Softbank's founder Masayoshi Son described the firm as being a crystal ball that would help him predict where tech was heading. But losses on other investments, including the office rental company WeWork, prompted a rethink. California-headquartered Nvidia overtook Intel to become the world's most valuable chipmaker in July. Until now, it has specialised in high-end graphics processing units (GPUs). These are commonly used by gamers to deliver There may not be a new iPhone just yet, but Apple tried to > compensate any disappointment by its several new devices to play with while wait. The announced latest of iPad, as well as a that combines of its services albeit for a hefty price. Here's rolled out at virtual launch Tuesday. Apple made a pitch the Covid-19 era generation of flagship wearable device, adding new health features to monitor oxygen levels, hand-washing techniques and home workouts. The Apple Watch 6 uses LED lights and measure amount of oxygen in a user's blood, by monitoring how much light the blood device can also users if they are at higher altitude, to remind them that their blood oxygen levels may be different than normal.But beware the fine print: Apple warns that its blood measurements end. The Apple Watch Series of also includes previously announced software updates including automatic hand-washing detection tracking. The watch starts at $399, with a version that has cellular capability costing $499. Both will officially hit stores this Friday. For those who don't want to pay as much to monitor their blood oxygen levels, Apple unveiled a slightly cheaper version of the watch with more limited features. Starting at $279, the Apple Watch SE uses a slower chip than the Apple Watch Series 6 but is still twice as fast as the $199 Series 3 model. It will run the latest version of watchOS. The cellular model allows for phone calls, messages and more. Like other models, it has fall detection, the latest motion sensors and it's swimproof.The Apple Watch also won't come with a USB power adapter anymore, said Lisa Jackson, Apple VP of environment, policy and social initiatives, framing it as a way the company is continuing to go green. That means if you don't have one laying around at home to charge your watch, you'll need to purchase one separately. The 8th generation of the iPad features what Apple says is an all-day battery, faster graphics and processing, a better camera and the A12 bionic chip, which Apple says is ever. The device
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