State News : Texas

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Air Evac EMS, Inc., a provider of emergency air ambulance services, has filed suit in the U.S.
District Court for the Western District of Texas seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Air Evac
seeks a declaration that the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA) preempts Texas Labor Code Sections
401.001–401.026, and related regulations (which establish a fee schedule and fee guidelines for
reimbursement for air ambulance services to workers' compensation claimants) as applied to
federally-regulated air carriers. Air Evac also seeks to permanently enjoin the Division from
enforcing any provision of the Texas Labor Code (and accompanying reimbursement rules) that cap
the price for Air Evac's services. Alternatively, Air Evac is requesting that the Court declare Texas
Labor Code §§ 415.021, 415.0215, 413.042, and any other section, rule, or regulation that
establishes or limits the price or rate charged, inapplicable to air ambulance providers, and to
permanently enjoin the Division from enforcing these statutes and regulations against air ambulance
Air Evac claims that the ADA preempts the above provisions because "the ADA requires that it is
the free market, not administrators or courts, that sets an air carrier's prices." The complaint alleges
that the Division establishes and enforces a fee schedule and fee guidelines under state law and
regulations that limit the amount that air ambulance providers can receive for emergency
transportation of injured workers, and that this reimbursement rate is "well below Air Evac's billed
charges, and the usual and customary fare it charges for its services." Air Evac alleges that the ADA
expressly preempts any state law or regulation that purports to restrict or economically regulate the
prices or services of air carriers within the United States, citing 49 U.S.C. § 41713(b)(1).
The complaint alleges that in 2015, Air Evac provided air ambulance services to several workers'
compensation patients, and has been paid only a "small fraction" of its billed charges because of the
Texas Labor Code's reimbursement scheme.