5:24 AM, Oct. 13, 2011
Written by Sarah Okeson
The Missouri Department of Social Services is switching its contract to transport Medicaid patients to an Atlanta company called LogistiCare LLC.
The contract covers non-emergency transportation for Medicaid recipients to get rides at a reduced cost. The transportation is to scheduled appointments at providers covered by MO HealthNet, the Medicaid program in Missouri, if recipients don't have another way to get to the appointment.
LogistiCare will take over Oct. 30. Medical Transportation Management of Lake St. Louis currently has the contract. The state has budgeted about $30.4 million this fiscal year for transportation for Medicaid recipients, about $19.5 million from federal funds and $10.4 million from state general revenue, according to the Department of Social Services.
Michele Lucas, the marketing director for Medical Transportation Management, said the company didn't renew the contract.
"We could not come to an agreement on a rate," Lucas said. "We wanted more than the state was willing to provide."
Lucas said since October of 2010, MTM provided transportation for more than 50,000 Medicaid recipients. About 4,100 of them live in Greene, Christian and Stone counties.
LogistiCare would not answer questions about the contract. An employee at LogistiCare said Missouri had asked the company to refer all calls to the Department of Social Services.
A press release from DSS said the agency "is working with both providers to ensure a seamless transition of client services without interruption."
MO HealthNet participants are able to schedule a ride to their appointment by calling 1-866-269-5927.
LogistiCare also transports Medicaid patients in Wisconsin but has been criticized for its service there after Medicaid recipients missed scheduled rides or experienced delays, according to articles in Wisconsin newspapers. A LogistiCare official told The Capital Times in Madison, Wis., that the overwhelming majority of rides were handled without complaints.
Logisticare has been a past contractor with Missouri, and Missouri officials are familiar with the company's service record, said Seth Bundy, a spokesman for DSS.
Both Logisticare and MTM have had prior problems with Missouri. In 2005, MTM agreed to pay $2.4 million to the state after allegations that it violated antitrust laws during the contract bid process, and breached its contract with the state by billing and accepting payments from the Missouri Medicaid program above what was allowed.
In 2005, then-Attorney General Jay Nixon investigated allegations of antitrust violations in agreements reached between MTM and LogistiCare Solutions. Under the agreements, LogistiCare would have become a subcontractor to MTM. LogistiCare agreed to pay $150,000 in 2005 to the state's antitrust revolving fund for its conduct in that bidding process.
Bundy said both settlements resolved past contractual issues.