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United States: Wyoming’s Pay Schedule for Air-Ambulance Services Transporting Injured Workers is Preempted by Airline Deregulation Act

August 25, 2017 (1 min read)

To the extent that Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-14-401(e) and its associated rate schedule set forth a mandatory maximum reimbursement rate for air-ambulance claims under the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act, the statute and schedule were preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act, 49 U.S.C.S. § 41713(b)(1), held the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court added that the McCarran-Ferguson Act did not preclude federal preemption of the state provisions. The Tenth Circuit indicated, however, that the district court had exceeded its authority when it ordered officials at the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services to pay the full amount companies charged for air-ambulance services, whatever that amount might be. The Court acknowledged various medical expense studies, which indicated the cost of air-ambulance services had increased significantly in recent years, but the Court said policy arguments in favor of excluding air-ambulance providers from the scope of the Airline Deregulation Act's preemption provision must be addressed to Congress, not the courts.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Eaglemed LCC v. Cox, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15962 (Aug. 22, 2017)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 94.03.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law