Truth be told: a fact check on Mark Kelly’s alleged involvement in surprise billing

Truth be told: a fact check on Mark Kelly’s alleged involvement in surprise billing
Posted at 10:03 PM, Aug 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 01:03:32-04

Arizona Senator Martha McSally is focusing on hidden medical bills in her Senate race against Mark Kelly. She is airing campaign ads accusing Kelly of making a small fortune from a company accused of hidden billing.

The ad and the claim

The 30-second campaign ad is paid and produced by McSally for Senate, Inc. and approved by Martha McSally, the current Arizona Senator.

The ad features oncologist Dr. Harry “Mo” Greene from Oro Valley, where he is currently running for city council. In it, Greene says, “Kelly served on the board of a medical transportation company that engaged in price gouging and surprise billing.”

Truth be told

Mark Kelly did work as a consultant and served on the board of Angel MedFlight, a medical air ambulance transportation company. Angel MedFlight did not say what Kelly did as a board member.

In a statement, the company told ABC15, “after a career in the Navy and with NASA, Mark Kelly reviewed and strengthened the company’s flight and safety policies.”

According to financial disclosure records, Kelly received $20,000. However, citing HIPAA laws, Angel MedFlight did not comment on specific allegations of price gouging or surprise billing.

The company said when helicopters are used in an emergency, there is no consultation with an insurer but, medical providers, insurers, and often families are consulted before a medical jet is used for transportation.

In 2018, then Congresswoman Martha McSally praised the company while touring the facility after it was nominated as a semifinalist for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Kelly was associated with Angel MedFlight at this time.

Impact on voters

Susan Hughes and her family are among millions of Americans dealing with hidden medical expenses.

"I was in a car accident; my husband had a life-changing illness,” said Susan Hughes. “We stopped counting at over $100,000 in out-of-pocket."

Hughes said she got a $65,000 bill at the hospital before the surgery in writing which said her insurance would cover it, “and then they changed their mind after the surgery.”

Hughes emphasized that this is a federal issue. It's not about individuals, she said. It’s about a healthcare system that allows insurers to back out of covering a procedure or a provider trying to add additional charges after a price was negotiated.