Spotlight: Tristan North
Vice President of Government Affairs, AMG
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, AAA
Tell us a little about yourself, please.
I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC and went to Langley High School near the CIA headquarters. I attended Babson College outside of Boston where I received my B.S. in Finance. During college I played rugby and was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Between junior and senior years of college, I worked in the Document Room of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Following college, I landed an internship with the Committee on Financial Services of the U.S. House of Representatives. I started in the press office but ultimately became a professional staff member with the investigation team. I worked on a number of issues during my tenure including currency anti-counterfeiting, credit unions and the solvency of the banking system.
After Capitol Hill I joined the Government Affairs Section of the PR firm, Fleishman-Hillard. I expanded my portfolio to include health care issues and became part of the lobbying team for the American Ambulance Association. The AAA then hired me internally as their first Director of Government Affairs and the rest is history.
I live in Virginia and my wife and I have two children, a boy and a girl. I am an avid skier as well as SCUBA diver and enjoy visiting new places.
When and how did you get involved with the AAA?
I joined the AAA lobbying team at Fleishman-Hillard in 1996 and the AAA staff as Director of Government Affairs in 2000.
How do you help the AAA?
As the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the AAA, I coordinate all aspects of the legislative and regulatory agenda of the Association before the Congress and federal agencies. I am the primary registered lobbyist for the AAA and responsible for helping shape and implement the public policy of the organization.
I manage the AAA Government Affairs team in DC which includes John Jonas and his team at Akin Gump, Kathy Lester, David Werfel, Brian Werfel and Chris Hogan who is not well known to AAA members but is invaluable. Steve Williamson and Jamie Pafford-Gresham as co-chairs of the AAA Government Affairs Committee lead the team on the legislative front and Angie Lehman and Rebecca Williamson as co-chairs of the Medicare Regulatory Committee on the regulatory side.
What is your typical day like?
My typical day in the office is usually spent on conference calls, drafting policy material and communicating with the other members of the Government Affairs team and congressional staff. On average, I spend one day a week in meetings on Capitol Hill although lately I’ve been spending two or three days a week on the Hill.
What are the biggest challenges you foresee for our industry? Any tips or last thoughts?
On the government affairs front, the biggest challenge I foresee is having the cost data necessary to make data-driven changes to Medicare ambulance policies. We need accurate data from all ambulance service providers to best position our industry for whatever the health care reimbursement model is in the next 5 years as well as 20 years. Data will also be necessary if we want to be reimbursed for services other than just the transport.
We will need data from all types and sizes of ambulance services serving urban, rural and super rural areas. It will be a burden on the industry but fortunately the AAA has been pushing for limited data to be collected from all ambulance service providers but then only cost data from a statistically significant but much smaller number of providers every three years. This would be far less of a burden on small providers than a mandatory annual cost report and would result in more accurate data.
It is therefore critical that AAA members ask their members of Congress to support the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act (S. 377, H.R. 745) which would implement the AAA data collection method as well as make permanent the current temporary Medicare ambulance relief.