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Is the state about to leave seniors stranded…again?

Currently Missouri’s Medicaid program appropriates $50 million dollars for Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) services to transport patients to and from doctors visits. However, twice in the past twenty years the state has awarded the contract to Medical Transportation Management (MTM), a company that has defaulted on the contract, not once but twice.

It would be reasonable to expect that MTM would never be trusted to be allowed to bid on a contract that involved pickup the state’s most vulnerable citizens and taking them to their sometimes life saving doctor’s appointments, however they were allowed to respond to the state’s RFT earlier this year…….and they were again given the contract.

After Medical Transportation Management (MTM), had defaulted on the contract twice before stranding ailing Medicaid patients who were waiting for a ride to their doctors appointments the state has put these same Missourians in danger again. 

The NEMT services, which are specifically provided through MoHealthnet, are used to help transport people who cannot do so themselves, to hospitals for appointments that are needed, but not necessarily an emergency. This service could be used for appointments like dialysis or checkups and is a service that is much needed for Missourians that face certain challenges that could prohibit them from transporting themselves.

MTM, the company that was awarded to be the next provider for the NEMT services, was also awarded this contract back in 2005 and 2011. In 2005 MTM defaulted on the contract within 60 days, and left hundreds of thousands of Missourians in need of transportation to important medical appointments. In 2011 MTM serviced the contract for 11 months before again defaulting on the contract. Both times another provider who bid on this year’s RFP stepped in to bail the state out. This left the state in dire need (twice) to find someone to replace MTM since they had abandoned the contract, and provide services quickly and efficiently.

This is not only an issue in Missouri though, as MTM has defaulted or abandoned many contracts in other states.

In Rhode Island MTM left a blind, terminally ill man stranded overnight, stating “breakdowns in communication” was why he was stranded. Though the man had contacted multiple members of their team, all of which had assured him someone was coming to pick him up. Another problem MTM created in RI was a fatal accident resulting in the death of the passenger, in which the driver was charged with a DUI.

The list goes on and on, from a $1 million fine to being “beyond repair”, but the issues continued into Arkansas where the state saw it was necessary to cancel MTM’s four regional contracts.

In Arkansas, MTM had its contracts terminated after only 17 days, due to “too many missed appointments”, which then led to the state seeking $3.7 million in damages.

Missouri does have other options though, three other companies, Verida Incorporation, Veyo LLC, and ModivCare Solutions LLC. ModivCare has taken over the contract both times MTM has defaulted or abandoned it and has served the contract through with no issues. MTM did not return calls for comment. 

ModivCare was assumed to be rewarded with the contract again but was not chosen as the recipient, which came as a shock to the company and its supporters. ModivCare declined to comment because of the pending protest. 

The grading process which decides the recipient of the contract seemed to undergo unfair grading, which resulted in ModivCare not being selected. ModivCare and MTM scored nearly identical on the “Past Experience” evaluation, a section that ModivCare felt as if they far exceeded MTM in. MTM’s past experiences with Missouri were listed as a major concern for this NEMT bid in 2016 but were not considered or noted in the 2022 bid.

You can find the full protest submitted by ModivCare and see the full grading evaluation here.

Next week, The Missouri Times will be publishing a story on the details of how the RFP grading process has been changed in recent years allowing situations like to occur.