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Little-known provision in Uber bill releases non-emergency medical transportation from burdensome regulations

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Transportation networking companies scored a major victory with the passage of HB 130, better known as the Uber bill, during the past legislative session.

But a little-known component of the bill has big implications for another group besides ride-sharing companies; one single sentence, added to the bill as an amendment while it was in the Senate, releases medical transportation companies from the authority of the regional taxicab commissions.

6. Nothing in sections 67.1800 to 67.1822 shall be construed as granting the regional taxicab commission the authority to license, supervise, or regulate medical transportation,” the line reads.

The amendment, filed by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, would remove non-emergency medical transportation companies like Express Medical Transporters, OATS, Logisticare, and MTM from being regulated by the Taxi Commission. The St. Louis senator argued that the vehicles were being unnecessarily regulated in a way they shouldn’t be.

Nasheed had filed identical legislation to address that issue this past session, but it never reached fruition. Instead, it found its way onto the Uber bill, where the amendment passed without any vocal opposition.

By passing the amendment, it means that the companies are no longer subject to the rules of the taxicab commissions, like requirements that a vehicle must be replaced after a certain amount of time, or required to pay any licensing fees or dues each year. It also meant the vehicles were required to meet all standards the Taxicab Commission put before them. In fact, those companies are already regulated by state agencies like MO Healthnet and the Department of Social Services, who contract work with the 

In fact, those companies are already regulated by state agencies like MO Healthnet and the Department of Social Services, who contract work with the companies.

Here are some of the regulations that would have been applied under the St. Louis Regional Taxicab Commission:

  • Non-emergency Medical Transport Vehicle: shall mean any motor vehicle or stretcher van designed or used to transport not more than eight passengers including the driver, on a prearranged basis for visits to medical care providers or other destinations related to health and welfare that require “protective oversight” of passengers with special needs; but shall not mean an ambulance.
  • A non-emergency medical transport vehicle must meet the coverage requirements for commercial automobile liability insurance set by the MTC or the applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, whichever is greater. The minimum auto liability insurance coverage required for any Non-Emergency Medical Transport Vehicle is three hundred thousand ($300,000.00) combined single limit (CSL) unless otherwise provided in this code or the Director’s Rules.
  • No person shall operate or lease a vehicle for hire without first obtaining a permit for such vehicle for hire from the MTC. The applicant may apply for and the MTC may issue a permit for an airport shuttle, airport taxicab, an alternative transportation vehicle, a carriage or horse-drawn vehicle, a commercial shuttle, a courtesy vehicle, a handicap accessible vehicle, a nonemergency medical transport vehicle, a premium sedan or an on-call taxi but not more than one kind of permit may be issued for any specific vehicle. Each permit shall be issued for a specific vehicle, provided, however, that the Director may authorize the transfer of a permit to a substitute vehicle if the Director determines that such a substitute vehicle complies with all requirements of this code.
  • The annual per vehicle license fee for an owner or lessee of an airport shuttle, airport taxicab, alternative transportation vehicle, carriage or horse-drawn vehicle, commercial shuttle, courtesy vehicle, handicap accessible vehicle, limousine, non-emergency medical transport vehicle, oncall taxi or premium sedan shall be as follows: 1. As determined annually by the MTC and published in a schedule by the Director.
  • All non-emergency medical transport vehicle permits shall expire on the thirty-first (31st) day of August of each year and shall be renewed annually prior to such expiration date.
  • Special Requirements for Non-Emergency Medical Transport Vehicles. A. As of September 30, 2010, any non-emergency medical transport vehicle that is not wheelchair accessible shall not be entered into service older than nine (9) model years. All vehicles presently in service shall be phased out as follows: 11/5/08 Rev. 8.3 –40– 1. As of September 30, 2010, no vehicle shall be older than nine (9) years. B. Non-emergency medical transport vehicles shall bear identifying marking(s) of content, size, color, and other specification as determined by the Director, permanently affixed as specified by the Director. The car shall bear no other markings except for precautionary signage. C. Drivers shall wear such uniforms as determined by the Director. D. It is the non-delegable responsibility of each non-emergency medical transport vehicle driver to ensure and make certain that passengers properly utilize safety restraints (seat belts). E. All wheelchair accessible vehicles shall be no older than twelve (12) model years while in service. F. A stretcher van shall not transport a passenger that, in the opinion of a licensed medical professional, would require medical care or monitoring during such transport. Violation of this subsection shall be a Class II violation. G. Unless otherwise specified, violation of this section 606 shall be a Class IV violation.
  • Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Vehicles shall be equipped with; Emergency first aid kit, fire extinguisher (ABC Rated), Bloodborne pathogen spill kit, spare electrical fuses, flashlight, ice scraper, Reflective triangles (3 minimum) or similar emergency warning device. High profile or tall vehicles shall additionally be required to be equipped with; Stepping Aid that is sturdy, less than 12” inches high, non-skid surface at least 8” inches by 12” inches, supports minimum 300 pounds. Paralift vehicles shall additionally be required to have a minimum overhead clearance between the top of the door opening and raised lift platform or highest point of the ramp of 56” inches. The lift or ramp must have a minimum load design of 600 pounds and meet ADA guidelines. Paralift vehicles shall be equipped with tie downs and or straps that meet ADA guidelines.