After hearing too many first-hand stories of how the Medicaid non-emergency transportation system had failed Medicaid beneficiaries and their providers time and time again, Camden Churches Organized for People (CCOP), Faith in New Jersey (FINJ), and the Camden Coalition for Healthcare Providers, working with the statewide action committee Good Care Collaborative (GCC), took action. Over the last several years the organizations worked together with patients and their families to advocate for significant improvements in non-emergency Medicaid transportation (NEMT) in New Jersey.
A Request for Proposal (RFP) for the new NEMT contract has just been released by the state, and we are pleased to announce that several recommendations put forth by the collaborating organizations are included. The recommendations incorporated into the final RFP include: requiring GPS tracking and data capture systems in 90 percent of the contractor’s vehicles, documenting and resolving patient complaints in a standardized and robust manner, lowering ‘will call’ wait time from 90 to 60 minutes, and contacting ride beneficiaries a day ahead of time to confirm pickup time and location.
The recommendations have the potential to generate significant improvements to a system providing a necessary service—getting some of the sickest and most vulnerable individuals in New Jersey to and from their doctor’s appointments and other vital services like chemotherapy and dialysis. In 2014, LogistiCare, the current broker, arranged 4.8 million rides for approximately 130,000 Medicaid recipients.
The RFP was released by the Department of Treasury 16 months after a draft version was released for public comment in August 2014. Opening up the draft RFP for public comment was an important step taken by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) to generate feedback from beneficiaries and providers across the state.
Since the beginning of the NEMT advocacy campaign, patient stories and experiences have been kept front and center when generating recommendations for changes to the NEMT system. The four items mentioned above—GPS tracking, complaint resolution, reduced will call times, and mandatory reminder phone-calls—will go a long way to ensuring that transportation providers are held accountable for any late or no-shows and that patients’ issues will be handled in a timely manner. The new RFP includes other service improvements like extending call center hours, educating providers about dealing with disruptive behavior and child safety laws, reporting a monthly log of complaints to the state, and noting that the new contractor may be required to “hold stakeholder meetings.”
In the news:
Courier-Post: NJ seeks new, improved Medicaid transportation system