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Continued: Patients worry as Blue Cross switches rural ride service

  • Article by: JENNIFER BROOKS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 5, 2014 - 9:59 PM

The company has reached out to Anderson and assured her that she will have transportation to her next appointment, in February, he added.

In a statement, Blue Cross said “any reports or indications of mis-scheduled rides are absolutely unacceptable and acted upon immediately … We are in discussions with MTM to ensure that our members receive the transportation services they require to get to their appointments.”

This isn’t the first brush with controversy for MTM, which is based in St. Louis and has contracts across the country. Five years ago, the Legislature stripped the company of its state contract to coordinate nonemergency transportation for Medicaid clients in the metro area. Critics argued that brokers like MTM added an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy, while MTM countered that it had the ability to streamline costs, reduce fraud and keep track in real time of all the clients in transit on any given day.

Despite the Legislature’s efforts, metro counties simply began contracting directly with MTM. Lawmakers have spent the past three years reviewing the issue and are likely to propose a new transportation strategy this session.

As a private entity, Blue Cross has the right to make its own business decisions. But the Department of Human Services (DHS) will be monitoring the patients’ complaints to ensure that MTM is fulfilling its obligations under law.

“Transportation is an important benefit to our members,” sad Nathan Moracco, the DHS acting assistant commissioner of health care. “If there are any systemic issues, we’ll be sure to address them with Blue Cross.”

Jennifer Brooks • 651-925-5049

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