NBC 10 I-Team: MTM receives almost $350,000 in fines within first six months of new contract

During the initial six months of its recent agreement with Rhode Island, MTM, a company specializing in coordinating non-emergency medical transport, was compelled to return approximately $350,000 in penalties, according to an investigation by the NBC 10 I-Team.

Kristen Sousa, the Medicaid Director at Rhode Island’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), emphasized the importance of meeting certain benchmarks to maintain quality. She stated, “There are penalties when they exceed or don’t meet certain benchmarks. Those things have pushed quality.”

MTM is a company that operates on a national scale, overseeing the organization of non-emergency medical transportation by collaborating with a network of subcontractors.

Every month, in Rhode Island, we are responsible for overseeing approximately 100,000 rides. These rides cater to various individuals, including the elderly, those facing financial challenges, and other members of the community.

During the initial six months of its recent agreement with Rhode Island, MTM, a non-emergency medical transport coordination company, was obliged to return almost $350,000 in penalties, as discovered by the NBC 10 I-Team.

Five years ago, the I-Team investigated complaints filed against MTM. During this time, patients shared their experiences of missing appointments as a result of the transportation company failing to show up.

In 2021, a driver working for an MTM subcontractor faced charges of driving under the influence after causing a fatal accident involving a wheelchair-bound woman he was responsible for transporting.

In 2023, the state awarded MTM with a new contract worth $40 million, spanning over three years.

The contract contained strengthened benchmarks for the company to achieve.

According to Sousa, “We have noticed some improvements. Our number of complaints has slightly decreased. Overall, I would say the situation is positive.”

MTM has faced penalties in the first six months of its new contract that nearly match the pace of penalties incurred the previous year, amounting to close to $750,000.

According to information shared with the I-Team by EOHHS, MTM incurred the following penalties in the second half of 2023:

    • More than $132,000 for failing to meet quotas for providing on-time rides
    • Fine of $120,000 for four times going over monthly quotas for how many complaints come from high-risk patients
    • Fine of $60,000 for twice exceeding monthly thresholds for how many times subcontractors refuse an assignment from MTM
    • Fine of $30,000 for once going over the allowed monthly percentage (5%) of placing patients in rideshares like Uber or Lyft

“I don’t find it troubling, at least not yet. The new contract has very aggressive benchmarks, possibly one of the most aggressive in the nation. Therefore, it is expected that under certain circumstances, such as bad weather, there may be delays. But for now, I am satisfied,” Sousa shared with the I-Team.

MTM’s spokeswoman has stated that their Rhode Island team is dedicated to ensuring safe and punctual transportation throughout the state and fulfilling all contractual obligations. The new contract has introduced stricter performance standards, prompting MTM to implement new strategies to ensure compliance. Despite the increased requirements, they have observed a decrease in instances of non-compliance under the new contract and remain fully committed to surpassing all performance standards outlined in the agreement.

EOHHS discovered that MTM failed to report two incidents in November within the mandated six-hour timeframe.

House Oversight Chairwoman Patricia Serpa recently engaged in a discussion with NBC 10’s Brian Crandall.

According to Sousa, one incident was a minor crash, while the other was determined to be unfounded.

Concerns about user-friendliness have been raised by House Oversight Chairwoman Patricia Serpa (D-West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), who has dealt with MTM complaints in the past.

Serpa told NBC 10 that they insisted on including several safeguards in the new contract to address issues at an early stage.

Despite there being only one other bidder, she expressed her dissatisfaction with the new contract for MTM.

According to Serpa, he reluctantly admits that this option may be regarded as the preferable choice, despite its negative connotations.

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