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

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2019

To The Leader


AUSTIN, Texas —which will help millions of Texans on Medicaid receive better transportation services for their healthcare needs— is on its way to the governor’s desk.

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.

The vast majority of non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) trips take place in standard passenger vehicles, transporting ambulatory, lucid patients; however, a standard NEMT ride must be scheduled 48 hours in advance. Even with this advanced scheduling, many of these rides arrive late or not at all.

HB 1576 adds Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)—like Uber and Lyft— to the existing Medicaid transportation toolbox. TNCs can be used where the medically appropriate level of transportation is curb-to-curb service in a standard passenger vehicle. They will be able to provide quicker, more flexible scheduling and are widely available, all while offering high levels of reliability and cost efficiency. This legislation cuts out the middle man and makes Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) responsible for the transportation benefit starting September 1, 2020.

The Texas Medical Transportation Program (MTP) will still coordinate transportation for Medicaid patients not managed by an MCO. Both the MTP program and the MCOs will have the ability to contract with rideshare providers like Uber and Lyft to provide more efficient, cost-effective services.

Phelan said, “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.”