CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) — The company contracted by the state to provide nonemergency medical transportation to Rhode Island residents was fined $600,000 Thursday in connection with a crash involving an unqualified driver that led to the death of a 77-year-old passenger, officials said.
The Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services in a statement also said the company, Medical Transportation Management, has been told to amend its accident reporting process and develop a plan to prevent the future hiring of unauthorized drivers.
An employee for an MTM subcontractor was driving a 77-year-old woman home from a dialysis appointment on Nov. 27 when he crashed. The state was not informed of the crash until Nov. 30, and the woman died about a week later.
The driver, a 25-year-old Providence man, is facing criminal charges including driving under the influence, and driving to endanger with death resulting.
An EOHHS audit found that the driver used a false identity; was under the influence of a controlled substance with an open bottle of alcohol in the vehicle; and failed to properly secure the passenger.
“This fatal accident involved a series of very severe violations of law and breaches of the standard of care we expect when MTM’s providers transport members to medical appointments,” said EOHHS Secretary Womazetta Jones.
The subcontractor is no longer part of MTM’s provider network, and the state Division of Public Utilities and Carriers has revoked its authority to operate.
“We are reviewing the corrective action plan from EOHHS and will respond in a timely manner,” MTM spokesperson Phil Stalboerger said in a statement. “We have zero tolerance for transportation providers who do not adhere to their contracts or those that allow their drivers to engage in illegal behavior. Our clients’ safety remains our top priority.”