November 20, 2018

Dear AAMS Members,

2018 has been an exceptional year, and I want to thank you all for supporting AAMS and each other in pushing this industry forward.

We had an outstanding turnout for our AMTC 2018 in Phoenix, with over 2200 attendees, 160+ exhibitors and 8 aircraft. Every year at AMTC, the AAMS Excellence in Community Service Award recognizes an individual or organization that has exhibited an outstanding history of leadership in customer or community-based project(s) that contribute to the quality of life within the communities they serve. This year, the award went to Claudel Gedeon of Haiti Air Ambulance. Before Claudel, there was no such thing as a flight paramedic in Haiti, and now, Claudel is one of 3 flight paramedics in the entire country. He has fostered a strong relationship between the community and Haiti Air Ambulance by opening the doors to more education and training shared amongst all in Haiti.

Both the AAMS and Foundation Boards held meetings at AMTC to discuss progress throughout this year, adjustments that need to be made and what can be expected for the year ahead.

As we look into the New Year on the government side, AAMS continues to pursue legislation to reform Medicare payments based on the cost of providing the service. Working with bipartisan co-sponsors from previous AAMS- supported Medicare reform legislation, we are confident that we will expand support for Medicare reform and work with both legislative chambers on Medicare and related healthcare legislation as the session develops. Healthcare issues were a pivotal issue on the 2018 campaign trail, and we believe that issues of surprise and balance billing in all segments of healthcare- including emergency medicine and emergency air medicine- will continue to be of significant interest to Congress through the upcoming session. With your support, AAMS is fighting to preserve access to air medical services and to the broader medical system through air medical transport.

On the Foundation side, our TopGolf event drew over 90 attendees and recognized Whitney Corby as “Patient of the Year” whose life was saved thanks to air medical transport. As Whitney worked toward recovery, she began to think about her future and what she would do with the rest of her life. Working each day so closely with her nurses inspired her, and she made the decision to become a nurse herself. Whitney and our community members are living proof that what we do matters and in spite of changes in legislation or a reorganization of leadership, we are saving lives every day.

In closing, I’d like to congratulate my fellow AAMS Board Executive Committee members, re-elected during our in-person meetings at the AMTC in Phoenix – Vice Chair Debbie Boudreaux, Teddy Bear Transport; Secretary Graeme Field, NSW Air Ambulance Service; and Treasurer Rene’ Borghese, Duke Life Flight. I’d also like to extend a special welcome to our newest Board Member, Region III Director Sherri Dean from PHI Air Medical. I look forward to working with each of you, as well as the rest of the esteemed AAMS Board members, in the year ahead.

Doug Garretson
AAMS Board Chair