RI’s medical transport company fined $1 million for stranding riders

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RI's medical transport company fined $1 million for stranding riders

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Medical Transportation Management (MTM) is facing a $1 million fine for its rocky rollout of service in January, Call 12 for Action has learned. 

The R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) also restructured its contract with the non-emergency medical transportation provider.

The amended contract, which was signed Thursday by EOHHS and MTM, eliminates a provision that capped the amount of money the state can seek for inadequate services at 4 percent of MTM’s monthly intake.

In addition, 10 percent of MTM’s monthly payment will be withheld by the state and only released to the vendor should it achieve “measurable performance goals.”

EOHHS hired MTM to transport elderly and disabled Rhode Islanders to medical appointments. Since the company’s Jan. 1 launch, more than a thousand people have reported late rides or no-shows.

“MTM assured us and our process verified that they had the capabilities in place to succeed,” RI Medicaid Director Patrick Tigue said Thursday. “The issue is they simply did not live up to their requirements.”

The R.I. House Oversight Committee held a hearing on the issue Thursday. In a prepared statement to the committee, MTM CEO Alaina Maciá apologized for the troubled rollout and said while there are still issues that need to be fixed, “the system is stable, the number of missed trips and complaints have decreased dramatically and your constituents have shorter hold times when they call us.”

“We are working every single day to do better for your constituents who use our service,” Maciá said.

Maciá also outlined steps that MTM has taken in an effort to improve service, which include hiring additional employees in Rhode Island, holding daily calls with EOHHS, and meeting with and taking suggestions from “stakeholders representing nursing homes, transportation providers, members, senior housing, substance use facilities and others.”

“We’ve started to see real signs of progress in terms of MTM’s improving performance,” Tigue added. “That said, we are still not where we need to be.”

“Is it going to take a month, two months, three months, six months, nine months? Do you have an estimate?” Rep. Julie Casimiro asked Tigue at the hearing.

“What’s important to us, Representative, is that we continue to see accelated progress,” Tigue responded. “And we want to keep seeing that, we don’t want that to ever stop.”

Serpa questioned Tigue about why the transportation service was allowed to launch on January 1.

“That was my decision,” Tigue said. He said the state was concerned about having an interruption in service, since the contract with the previous vendor Logisticare ended on December 31.

Call 12 for Action interviewed Melanie Langlois in early February after she claimed she was stranded for hours, waiting for a ride home from an appointment.

“They’re treating us disabled like crap,” Langlois said. “They’re treating us like we don’t matter.”

Denise Soucie, the owner of Four Seasons Assisted Living in North Scituate, said all 27 of her residents have had issues with MTM.

“We want Logisticare back,” Soucie told Eyewitness News. “Doctors are not going to deal with my residents if they’re getting rides from MTM.”

Maciá did address that issue at the hearing, saying members could get reimbursed for any no-show fees from doctors, and MTM would call the doctor’s office to take responsibility for the missed appointment.

Last week, Maciá told Call 12 for Action the system is stabilizing. She said call center wait times were under 20 seconds and complaints accompanied only 1% of trips.

“We’re really proud to say things have turned around greatly from the beginning of the program,” Maciá said in an interview.

On a typical day, MTM handles about 5,000 trips in Rhode Island. According to the company’s data that was submitted to the state, MTM transported 10,618 unique users on 148,880 legs between Jan. 1 and Jan. 27.

MTM beat out the state’s former non-emergency medical transportation vendor, Logisticare, for a three-and-a-half year contract, worth up to $115 million.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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