PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The state of Rhode Island has awarded a new three-year contract to Medical Transportation Management (MTM).
Given the vendor’s troubled track record, the chair of the House Oversight Committee is looking for answers.
“I’m hearing that the Rhode Island Department of Human Services renewed the contract with MTM, the nonemergency transportation provider with whom there were many, many issues,” state Rep. Patricia Serpa said in a tweet. “Can’t wait to hear the justification for this one.”
Two companies bid on the contract and MTM was chosen, according to state officials.
MTM was first contracted by the state at the start of 2019. From there, complaints about late or missed rides began to pile up, and the vendor was fined $1 million as a result. Later that year, MTM dropped one of its drivers after Target 12 obtained a photo showing a child crouching on the floor of a packed vehicle.
In 2021, MTM was fined $600,000 after a 77-year-old patient was killed in an alleged drunk-driving crash. Serpa suggested the state cut ties with the vendor at that point.
Now, she’s expressing concern that the company isn’t up to the task.
“Maybe the company will deliver, maybe they won’t,” Serpa said Monday. “But it confounds logical reasoning, it confounds every level of logic as to why they were awarded this contract.”
Ashley O’Shea, a spokesperson for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), told 12 News that as of February 2023, complaints were filed on less than 0.2% of the more than 2.2 million rides provided by MTM since the start of the 2020 fiscal year.
O’Shea also said EOHHS made some changes to the contract after receiving feedback from advocates and the legislature.
“The new contract enhances quality and safety assurances, transparency of vendor performance, financial management and improve member satisfaction of transportation services,” O’Shea said.
Michele Lucas, MTM’s chief marketing officer, released a statement saying the company was “very excited” to learn it was awarded the contract.
“We are currently meeting all contractual obligations and metrics for the existing contract and look forward to partnering with EOHHS to implement the new contract with a focus on quality, safety, transparency, and member satisfaction,” Lucas wrote.
A spokesperson for Gov. Dan McKee’s campaign confirmed three fundraisers for the governor were held by an MTM lobbyist — most recently in January 2023 — but assured there was no connection between those events and the new contract.
The contract goes into effect on July 1, 2023. Before it expires at the end of June 2026, the state can choose to renew the contract for up to four more years.