Representative Dade Phelan files HB 1576 to improve access to medical services for Texans on Medicaid

Published 4:08 pm Monday, February 11, 2019

To The Leader

AUSTIN, Texas – Representative Dade Phelan has filed HB 1576 which will help millions of Texans on Medicaid receive better transportation services for their healthcare needs.

The unfortunate truth is that getting a ride to a medical appointment for many Texans on Medicaid can be a considerable challenge. The availability of reliable transportation is critical to health outcomes, particularly for rural, elderly, and low- income Texans dealing with chronic health conditions.

“Reliable transportation is often an insurmountable barrier in accessing healthcare for millions of Texans on Medicaid.” Phelan continued, “This new public/private partnership option is about outcomes – a better healthcare outcome for the patient, a better delivery of service outcome for the provider, and a better return on investment outcome for the taxpayer.”

HB 1576 will improve access to transportation options under the Texas Medical Transportation Program (MTP) by modernizing Texas’ Government Code to allow for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber or Lyft to provide certain Nonemergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) services.

HB 1576 also directly addresses a significant gap in the current system with respect to meeting beneficiaries’ transportation needs in circumstances when transportation cannot be scheduled 48 hours in advance, such as pharmacy visits, hospital discharges, and other time-sensitive health needs. Under the current system, requests for non-emergent medical transportation must be received at least two working days in advance of the beneficiary’s healthcare service appointment.

HB 1576 creates a new category of transportation services to fill this gap, nonmedical transportation services (NMT), that will be carved out from the MTP. NMT will be delivered directly through the Texas Medicaid managed care program under the authority of managed care organizations (MCOs) that are charged with providing beneficiaries with medically necessary services in a timely manner and

appropriate setting. Under the new delivery model, MCOs would be authorized to contract with TNCs to provide the benefit, as TNCs are well-suited to provide NMT in a readily available, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

It is critical that this Legislature work to ensure the health of all Texans, especially those on Medicaid. By updating our Medicaid regulations to account for new technologies, Texas can provide a better service to all Texans while not spending additional tax dollars.