House Committee on Oversight: MTM, EOHHS have until Feb. 28 to fix medical transport service problems

PROVIDENCE — Medical Transportation Management Inc., is one month and hundreds of complaints into their three-and-a-half-year, $115 million contract with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services for non-emergency medical transportation to Medicaid members.

The R.I. House Committee on Oversight gave all parties until Feb. 28 to correct that performance, Thursday night.

Citing reports of the state’s most vulnerable being left stranded when trying to get to dialysis, chemotherapy and other medical appointments, Patricia Serpa, D-West Warwick, oversight chairwoman, said, “I have come to one conclusion: this state is just not very good at engaging and managing contracts.”

The service is provided for Medicaid members who need to get to and from Medicaid-covered services but have no means of transportation, according to the EOHHS website. Clients of the service include elderly and handicapped people, according to the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau.

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“After 30 days evaluation of MTM’s operation in Rhode Island, it is apparent that MTM was ill prepared to broker services to Rhode Islanders. MTM lacks the experience and capacity to deliver effective transportation services to meet the need of riders,” said Abdul-Giyath Mayale-Eke, a member of the board of the Rhode Island Non-Emergency Medical Transporters Association, in a letter to the EOHHS this week.

Mayale-Eke said complaints about MTM include members missing their appointments, unreasonably long hold times on phone calls by people seeking rides, and reliance on less reliable companies who often leave patients without a ride to or from their appointments.

“MTM was not delivering on its contractual obligations and the level of service was unacceptable. We took immediate action and demanded that MTM leadership come to Rhode Island to rectify this situation. A Corrective Action Plan has been implemented, and we will stop at nothing to ensure this vendor delivers what it promised to Rhode Islanders,” said Meghan Connelly, spokesperson for the EOHHS. She said the EOHHS’s count of the complaints is 413 in their first month. She added that a single complaint from a facility could be the result of multiple client issues.

By Serpa’s account, there have been nearly 1,300 complaints that the service has either been delayed or that drivers never showed up.

Connelly said complaints about the former vendor, LogistiCare, from February 2018 through September 2018, totaled 5,155, for a monthly average of 860. 

Alaina Macia, CEO of MTM, acknowledged the problems during her testimony at the meeting, apologizing and pledging to fix the situation.

“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,” Macia said.

MTM’s contract allows enhanced financial incentives for services, including a $50 fine for pick-ups that aren’t on time and a $250 fine each day that 90 percent of rides aren’t on time, said Connelly.

“This contract is stronger than the one with our prior vendor, and hence we demand that MTM meet their obligation to our beneficiaries,” Connelly said.

“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,” Serpa said.

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.