Logisticare to Require its NEMT Providers to Service Medi-Cal Members
Logisticare, the nation’s largest provider of non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) programs for state governments and managed care organizations, will require all NEMT transportation providers within its network in California to provide services to recipients of Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for low-income individuals. With uniform regulations and guidelines for all NEMT transportation providers in California, both Logisticare and its contracted providers could potentially maximize their access to resources and funding.
Medi-Cal, or Medicaid as it is known in other states, has as significant role in the NEMT industry. Roughly 13 million people are enrolled in Medi-Cal, or about 33% of California’s entire population. Under Medi-Cal rules and regulations, NEMT services, which include transport by ambulances, stretcher vans, gurney vans, and wheelchair vans, are provided to all Medi-Cal recipients who need to obtain medically necessary covered services but do not have access to or cannot use standard means of transportation. NEMT is also provided when prescribed in writing by Medi-Cal physicians, dentists, podiatrists, or other specialists.
As it stands, many states have either a private or public brokerage system that connects citizens with these transportation providers. Each of these private and public organizations has different sources of funding, and rules and regulations vary for each source as well. Accountability and vehicle needs also differ greatly amongst these organizations, which have led to inefficient use of resources, insufficient transport for the needy, varying safety standards, and customer inconvenience.
According to the Governor’s budget summary for 2017 to 2018, California’s state budget includes $154.6 billion for all health and human services programs. $13.7 billion of that figure is budgeted for reimbursements. The California Department of Health Care Services claims federal Medicaid reimbursements for NEMT services. Unfortunately, the state claims that these reimbursements are vulnerable to fraud. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act, which has dramatically expanded Medicaid coverage across the nation and the demand for medical transportation, often cite runaway costs as a reason for rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act.
Although the future of Medicaid expansion remains uncertain, the Governor’s health and human services budget for 2018 – 2019 continues to reflect existing state and federal law. California will not likely cut NEMT services, as they continue to be vital to the at-risk population of California: the elderly, the disabled, and those who need mental health counseling treatment, treatment for substance abuse, dialysis, physical therapy, or adult day care. Thus, access to funding will remain stable. However, in order to strengthen access to funding, Logisticare is taking steps to bring certain providers up to par with the rest of the NEMT community.
All NEMT providers under Logisticare would need to meet uniform eligibility standards, operating procedures and equipment. Providers would need to outfit all their vehicles with a conversion that meets California Title 22 Requirements. These requirements help support the multitude of Medi-Cal recipients with special needs. Our ADA Accessible Ford Transit and Ford Transit Hybrid vans are the ideal solution for NEMT service providers looking to meet all of Logisticares new requirements. NEMT service providers in better compliance with federal and state requirements are less likely to be audited and are more likely to see an increase in payments received via reimbursements from the budget.