Marty_ArkusOctober 3, 2014

Greetings AAMS Members!

Many of us are settling back into our routines following the AMTC in Nashville, Tennessee last week. With close to 2400 in attendance, participants enjoyed great keynote presentations, ten tracks of informative education courses, a sold-out exhibit hall, and, most likely, a night or two on Broadway Street enjoying some of the best musical talent around. If you were able to attend, I hope you enjoyed your stay, and that you brought home the boots to prove it!

There are several items of note that I’d like to share with the membership. First, I’d like to thank the AAMS Board for electing me to a second term as your Board Chair. I’m excited to continue working closely with Rick and the Board to further the Association’s goals and objectives. Joining me on the Executive Committee are Vice Chair Dave Evans (Region VII Director, STARS), Treasurer Chris Hall (At-Large Director, PHI Air Medical), and Secretary Doug Garretson (Region V Director, STAT MedEvac.) Gerry Pagano (Trauma Hawk, Health District of Palm Beach County) will also remain on the Executive Committee as the Past Chair.

The AAMS Board had the opportunity to meet twice while in Nashville during which we said goodbye to our outgoing Board Members Jack Sosebee, Betsy Casanave, Greg Hildenbrand and Robbie Copeland. I’d like to thank them all for their valued time and commitment to the Association, and wish them a great year ahead. We also officially welcomed new Board Members Deborah Boudreaux, Chris Hall, Russell MacDonald and Ted Ryan.

Over the course of our meetings, we discussed a process to restructure AAMS membership. This has been an ongoing effort of several of my predecessors, and I imagine this effort may continue beyond my term. In the coming months, AAMS members can expect a transparent process through which we hope you will take the time to provide your input. We have hired a consultant to help us analyze the current membership structure, identify potential areas of restructure, and prepare a draft of a plan for membership revision to share with you for feedback.

The board also discussed AAMS’ ongoing government relations efforts on a number of important issues. Our Congressional outreach efforts have resulted in dozens of meetings with Representatives and Senators establishing AAMS as the voice of the air medical industry and bringing attention to the tremendous life-saving work of our members. Through these efforts we have seen progress made on a variety of issues ranging from TRICARE reimbursement, FAA regulations, giving the air medical community a voice in the establishment of regulations on UAV’s, and of course, Medicare reimbursement. In fact, our longstanding efforts to improve Medicare reimbursement are quickly picking up steam. We are expecting to have legislative language soon to advance our need to review the Medicare fee schedule and are considering an advocacy fly-in day in mid to late November to rally around the cause. Stay tuned for details.

A personal highlight during my trip to Nashville was the opportunity to present the AAMS Chairman Awards during the AAMS Membership Meeting to four individuals that go above and beyond in service to our industry. Donna Clark and Colin Henry were recognized for their tireless commitment to the success of the Safety Management Training Academy (SMTA). This SMTA program continues to gain momentum, and is increasingly becoming known industry-wide for excellence in continuing safety education, due in large part to Donna and Colin’s involvement. Similarly, I felt Ed Marasco deserved long overdue recognition for his dedication to the Medical Transport Leadership Institute (MTLI). Ed has been involved with MTLI since its inception back in 1998, and he shows a clear passion for developing our industry’s current and future leaders. Finally, I recognized Helicopter Association International (HAI) President & CEO, Matt Zuccaro, for his leadership in helicopter safety initiatives, particularly for HAI’s “Land and Live” safety program launched last year. AAMS and our Vision Zero initiative very much look forward to working with Matt and his team to ensure that safety is always the number 1 priority.

In closing, I’m thrilled to announce the great success of the MedEvac Foundation’s events held during the AMTC. Combined, the Hero Retrieval, the Golf Tournament, and the Steep Canyon Rangers Benefit Concert raised over $230,000 in support of the Foundation’s research, education, and programs designed to improve and advance emergency medical transport. Special thanks to all that participated in those events, as well as to all of you that support the Foundation with donations throughout the year. Be on the lookout for details on the 2015 Great American Safety Drive, perhaps heading your way once the route is determined. The inaugural Drive held this past Spring raised more than $140,000 earmarked for safety-related research and education, and we expect even bigger and better things in store for 2015!

Marty Arkus, Chairman, AAMS Board of Directors