AAMS Member Alert – December 6, 2017

US Department of Transportation Consumer Protection Division
and Air Ambulance Consumer Complaints

The US Department of Transportation’s Consumer Protection Division (DOTCPD) is now receiving complaints from patients transported by Air Medical Services via a portal on DOTCPD’s website.

It is the intention of the DOTCPD to process those complaints in the following manner:

  1. When DOT receives a complaint, a letter will be sent to the Certificate Holder (i.e. the aviation provider, over whom DOT has authority) and a response letter to the consumer who filed the complaint. The Certificate Holder has 30 days to respond to the consumer and copy the DOT on that response.
  2. Beginning February 2018, the DOTCPD plans to publish a list of complaints received after January 1, 2018, to its website.  DOTCPD has already begun sending letters to air medical services as part of this process.

The purpose of this process is to provide consumers of air medical services (patients transported) with a similar consumer protection the DOT extends to passengers of other aviation services. According to the website, the DOTCPD will investigate those issues that are currently under its authority and to monitor those complaints for trends that may demand further attention from the DOT.

AAMS has been working with DOT to answer questions about this process and to ensure that DOT officials are making the appropriate contacts with our members in the event a complaint is filed. While we support the need for consumer protection in air medical transport, we also believe that this process must be handled properly, ensuring that the DOTCPD is making the proper contacts at members companies and, most importantly, that a resolution process and to track that resolution as part of an overall process.

AAMS will continue to meet with DOT and provide updates to its members as information becomes available.  Should you be contacted by the DOT, please email Chris Eastlee at ceastlee@aams.org.