MTM back before House Oversight Committee

In November, lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee had asked for a comprehensive improvement plan from the agency after a long list of complaints against the company. But after tonight's hearing, they're still not totally satisfied.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) –  Lawmakers once again heard from the troubled medical ride service in the state Medical Transportation Management (MTM) Tuesday night.

In November, lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee had asked for a comprehensive improvement plan from the agency after a long list of complaints came out against the company. But after tonight’s hearing, they’re still not totally satisfied.

“We didn’t get a lot of those answers tonight,’ said House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Representative Pat Serpa. “They spoke in many generalities.”

Legislators and advocates testified Tuesday that they know many medicaid beneficiaries who have started to find their own arrangements to get to appointments, rather than MTM, to avoid aggravation.

“The problems are still the same: late pickups, improper vehicles being sent, folks missing appointments,” said CEO of the Rhode Island Healthcare Association Scott Fraser.

MTM said at the hearing that the company has shown improvements and the number of complaints have declined.

However they said the same thing months ago.

“Are we perfect? We’re going to say, no we’re not perfect because we’re still getting a few complaints,” said MTM Public Affairs Representative Phil Stalboerger. “But by and large we’re trying to merge two different industries: healthcare and transportation. Both of which have a lot of issues amongst themselves.”

One of the biggest concerns out of Tuesday night’s meeting is how drivers are being compensated.

Some testified that if they arrive to pick up a patient who never ordered a ride or canceled last minute, they don’t get paid.

“You’ve got these cab drivers driving from Providence to Westerly for a no-show and not getting any reimbursement, I personally don’t think that’s fair,” said Serpa. “Can’t they compensate these people somehow?”

The representatives tonight asked for records on how often this happens to drivers, and also for data to compare MTM with past ride services the state has used for its medicaid recipients.

Representative Serpa said they’ll likely need to have MTM back for another hearing in a few months.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

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