Oversight Committee blasts transportation company; gives all parties three weeks to sort things out
STATE HOUSE — The House Committee on Oversight met Thursday to review hundreds of complaints lodged against a new vendor that provides transportation to Medicaid beneficiaries, the elderly and handicapped. At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel gave all parties involved three weeks to correct all problems by the time the Oversight Committee meets again on Thursday, Feb. 28.
Citing reports of the state’s most vulnerable being left stranded when trying to get to dialysis, chemotherapy and other medical appointments, Oversight Chairwoman Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) said, “I have come to one conclusion: this state is just not very good at engaging and managing contracts.
“I had thought and hoped that after the history of the UHIP debacle, that history would not repeat itself,” she said in reference to the botched rollout of the Unified Health Infrastructure Project.
Since Jan. 1, Missouri-based Medical Transportation Management has been responsible for coordinating transportation services for Medicaid beneficiaries and individuals over the age of 60 for non-emergency medical services. The transition has been a rocky one, with almost 1,300 complaints that the service has either been delayed or that drivers never showed up.
The committee heard testimony from clients and administrators regarding patients who had missed important medical appointments, all because of MTM’s scheduling.
The CEO of MTM, Alaina Macia, testified at the hearing, acknowledging the problems, apologizing and pledging to fix the situation, saying “MTM is bringing new and advanced technology to the market, and change can be difficult. We have to adjust our model to meet the needs of the local community.”
Chairwoman Serpa fired back at Macia and took the state to task over agreeing to the 150-page contract with the transportation vendor: “When are we going to get it right? This is a bunch of baloney — 150 pages of gobbledygook. I do not want to be sitting here four years from now still talking about this. When we come back in three weeks, I want to know that it’s all clear. I want to hear it from the service providers. I want to hear it from the drivers. And then I want to close this chapter. I want to be done with it or I’m putting in a resolution requesting the administration to terminate this contract, because I’m done with lousy contracts. I’m done.”
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903