July 20, 2018
I wanted to take an opportunity to provide you with regular updates on the Indiana Family and Social Services new initiative to provide non-emergency transportation to traditional Medicaid members across the state. Services for non-emergency transportation include things like dialysis appointments, pharmacy prescription pick-up and prevention visits with a member’s physician.
In recent weeks, you may have heard from some constituents or seen news reports regarding FSSA’s new non-emergency transportation broker, Southeastrans. Until recently, the availability of non-emergency medical transportation for traditional Medicaid members varied across the state – with some parts of the state having little to no access to safe, reliable non-emergency transportation, along with inconsistent reliability and varying billing and reporting requirements. We know that access to health care is more than just having a doctor, and this transportation benefit is essential to improving that access.
Beginning June 1, 2018, FSSA began addressing these issues by implementing a new approach that involves working with Southeastrans to coordinate non-emergency medical transportation for approximately 200,000 members. This includes any member who is not in a managed care program such as Hoosier Healthwise, Hoosier Care Connect or the Healthy Indiana Plan. FSSA is transitioning to an arrangement where Southeastrans will arrange and coordinate all Medicaid-reimbursed transportation. Medicaid reimbursement is available if a member has no other transportation option available. We have found in the last six weeks that the need for non-emergency transportation service is even greater than we knew. In fact, we are providing more rides now than in the previous model to individuals who did not know about or access this benefit, which has resulted in more than a 30% increase in service. This has highlighted the fact that Indiana does not have a sufficient number of transportation services to meet the need. Now that we have a global view of this information, we can work together to grow coverage in underserved areas.
The first several weeks of this ramp up period presented Southeastrans with many challenges that we continue to address together, in accordance with the contract. However, given the magnitude of this change, we will begin work with our stakeholders and
Southeastrans to focus on our members who live at home, rather than in facilities such as nursing homes. We will then take a phased-in approach to ensure that the transportation network is adequate and include these additional partners in the program. I will provide details regarding this modified approach on an ongoing basis.
I am encouraged that Southeastrans continues to report progress in provider network growth, customer experience and system stabilization. We expect Southeastrans to continue identifying and addressing any inconsistencies or gaps in service so the member experience is positive. We are currently tracking data daily to monitor the progress Southeastrans has made, and with the increased information on gaps in service coverage, we are able to target provider recruitment to increase the availability of services for members who need this service.
If you or your constituents have any questions regarding this new initiative, please visit Medicaid Non-Emergency Transportation System/Southeastrans or call Gus Habig at 317-232-1164.
Jennifer Walthall, MD, MPH