The leader of Democrats in the Wisconsin state Assembly is critical of a private firm which provides contracted services to transport people to medical appointments, in the wake of a state audit showing thousands of those rides were late or failed to show up at all. “Some of our most vulnerable residents depend on medical transport and I am outraged that the state is paying progressively more for substandard services,” said state Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenohsa) “More than 40 percent of people reported missing appointments because they didn’t get rides and that’s unacceptable. It is clear that our medical transportation program is in need of a serious overhaul to ensure the needs of our residents are being met and taxpayers are getting the best deal possible.”
Medical Transportation Management was paid $56.1 million to transport Medicaid recipients during the 2013-2014 fiscal year, but the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau found much room for improvement. From July 2010 through January 2015, LAB received a total of 386 NEMT-related complaints. Common complaints LAB received, as well as those received by MTM, related to drivers not arriving to transport recipients (no-shows) or arriving late to take them to their appointments. From August 2013 through June 2014, LAB found 4,154 instances in which transportation providers did not arrive to provide a scheduled trip and 55,320 instances in which they arrived more than 15 minutes late to take recipients to their appointments.
“While there are obviously some areas for improvement, overall this program has seemed to provide reasonably suitable transportation services,” said Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay), who co-chairs the legislature’s Joint Audit Committee. “However, I agree with the LAB’s recommendation to apply more diverse metrics to safeguard for even higher quality of services in the future. I hope this will result in better customer service for those in need of NEMT services and move towards more aggressive resolve for those who file complaints.”