Oversight Committee hears update on transportation debacle including fines, renegotiated contract
STATE HOUSE — The House Committee on Oversight met Thursday to hear an update on the progress that has been made in rectifying the complaints lodged against a new vendor that provides transportation to Medicaid beneficiaries, the elderly and handicapped.
Included in the testimony was the revelation that Missouri-based Medical Transportation Management will pay a $1-million penalty. The company has also agreed to future monetary sanctions until all problems have been resolved.
Since Jan. 1, the company 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.
In addition to the $1 million fine, a contract between the company and the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services was renegotiated and finalized just before the oversight meeting. The new agreement gets rid of a provision that capped the amount of money the state can seek for inadequate services at 4 percent. It also includes a 10-percent withholding of monthly payments unless the company meets measurable performance goals.
Members of the committee said that they have heard fewer complaints since meeting three weeks ago, but indicated that a snowball effect has had a severe financial impact on the state’s most vulnerable.
“We’re hearing more now about the unintended consequences that go along with the failure to provide these rides,” she said Oversight Chairwoman Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick). “As you know, physicians charge you for missed appointments. I’ve heard from people who have lost $50 for each appointment they miss — and they add up. So not only have they missed important doctor’s appointments because of rides not showing up, they’ve taken a financial hit on top of it. So it causes a ripple effect that goes on and on.”
The CEO of MTM, Alaina Macia, testified at the hearing, apologizing once again for the disappointing service of her company while laying out the steps that have been taken to correct the situation, including improved communication with state agencies, drivers and patients. She also indicated that the remaining problems can be fixed within a month.
Chairwoman Serpa told Macia and the committee members that another meeting would be planned for the end of March to ensure that the remaining problems have been fixed to the satisfaction of the committee.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903