Legislators order full audit of medical transportation program

Source: Gitte Laasby, Journal Sentinel, April 24, 2014

Wisconsin’s Legislative Audit Bureau will be conducting a comprehensive audit of the state’s nonemergency medical transportation program that legislators can consider when making financial allocations in the next budget session. The state’s joint committee on audit unanimously approved the audit after a public hearing Thursday, hoping it can lead to improvements. The original audit scope was limited to complaints from BadgerCare and Medicaid recipients who cited late, no-show and unavailable rides through MTM Inc. The company has dispatched rides under the program since August. The proposed audit also sought to outline how MTM resolves complaints. … Several local government representatives, interest groups and transportation providers testified that complaints logged with MTM wouldn’t capture all the problems because many members stopped filing complaints when MTM, which logs its own complaints, failed to resolve prior problems. The groups urged the committee to request an audit that addressed more fundamental questions about privatization through a broker…. Under the privatized program — which took effect with LogistiCare as the first broker in 2011 — a company contracted by the government dispatches rides to Medicaid-covered services for poor and elderly residents who have no other way to get to their appointments. The company is paid a fixed amount per eligible member, not for the number of rides provided. ‘Perverse incentive’ Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said Thursday that when a company gets paid regardless of whether it provides services, it creates a “perverse incentive” to provide as few rides as possible as cheaply as possible because the company makes more money that way. …
Related:
Wisconsin to pay $6.3 million more annually for LogistiCare replacement
Source: Gitte Laasby, Journal Sentinel, April 14, 2013

State taxpayers will be shelling out an extra $6.3 million per year for medical transportation for Wisconsin Medicaid recipients once MTM Inc. takes over for LogistiCare, according to a Journal Sentinel analysis of bids. Just a few years ago, state officials estimated that having a private firm dispatch rides would save the state $4 million a year. The Journal Sentinel analysis raises questions about whether the privatization really saves state taxpayers money….

…Department of Health officials estimated that the broker model, or privatization, would save the state $4 million over the course of a year, from 2012 to 2013. LogistiCare started dispatching rides for the entire state in September. The state, however, had underestimated severely the number of rides to be provided in the greater Milwaukee area. Within 2½ months of starting services, LogistiCare said it was losing money and quit its contract….

Contract proposal for patient rides allows leeway
Source: Gitte Laasby, Journal Sentinel, January 3, 2013

After Wisconsin selects a new medical transportation provider to replace the embattled LogistiCare, patients may spend more time on the phone when they call to make reservations or complaints. And their service complaints will still be processed by the same company that messed up, rather than a third party. …. The company has received thousands of complaints since taking over services in the Milwaukee area on Sept. 1.