Northwestern PA Lawmakers Negotiate Budget Deal to Halt Cost-Doubling Changes to Medical Assistance Transportation Program
HARRISBURG – State Reps. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest), Brad Roae (R-Crawford/Erie), Lee James (R-Venango/Butler), Tedd Nesbit (R-Mercer/Butler) and Parke Wentling (R-Crawford/Erie/Lawrence/Mercer) today announced the conclusion of their successful negotiations to include as part of the budget a requirement in the Human Services Code to bring greater transparency, accountability and taxpayer savings in funding the state Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP).

Originally introduced as House Bill 986, this provision became part of Senate Bill 695. Supported by the Northwestern PA lawmakers, the measure would halt the implementation of a previous requirement to revamp the structure of the MATP until the Department of Human Services (DHS) completes a thorough review and cost analysis of the current and proposed models. MATP provides rides to medical appointments for Medical Assistance recipients when other means of transportation are unavailable.

Joint Statement:

“Last year’s budget included a requirement that DHS revamp the MATP system and deliver assistance using a statewide or regional broker, rather than counties across the state providing the service.

“The savings, through federal reimbursements, were estimated at roughly $15 million. However, the total taxpayer costs for implementation at the state level were never considered.

“While this shift would undoubtedly help some counties improve the delivery of services, the response from others suggests that further study is definitely needed. In addition to concerns about access, flexibility, and a lack of understanding of rural needs and resources, some of the available feedback indicates that this move would actually double the costs.

“Further analysis estimates that the ultimate cost to the Commonwealth would be $31.5 million. While we wholeheartedly support looking for ways to save taxpayer dollars, it would be completely irresponsible to get too excited about saving $15 million when implementing these changes would cost twice as much.

“Now included as part of the state budget package, this provision will delay the implementation of this funding shift until DHS conducts a complete analysis of the benefits and consequences of making this change.

“Before making any shift of this magnitude, we must fully understand all the potential impacts to taxpayers and our most vulnerable citizens who rely on MATP to receive essential medical care.”

Representative Kathy Rapp
65th District

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