CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Leading lawmakers want representatives of the state DHHR to appear before them at a meeting next month to further explain a proposal to use a broker to handle non-emergency medical transports across the state.
House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, raised a number of questions during a meeting Wednesday morning of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Government and Finance.
Del. Armstead said he’s heard from county ambulance services who are concerned they will lose some of the transports and thus lose the money they use to help with their emergency responses.
The DHHR has already received bids from three out-of-state brokers interested in providing the service. The agency is currently reviewing the bids. DHHR Medicaid Commissioner Nancy Atkins told another group of lawmakers later in the day Wednesday using a broker would save waste in the Medicaid system and provide the best non-emergency transportation for Medicaid recipients.
“The intent is to save money for Medicaid, coordinate that care a little more and to make sure the Medicaid members have adequate and safe transportation,” Atkins said.
DHHR Deputy Commissioner of Finance Tina Bailes said the proposal includes protections that guarantee local ambulance authorities will have the opportunity to contract with the broker and receive the standard Medicaid reimbursement rate.
“Our proposal says the broker must offer those contracts to those entities,” Bailes said. “So it would be up to the entity or agency to contract with that broker.”
The interim legislative committee agreed to formally ask the DHHR not to make any movement on the bids until the agency comes before the committee at its next meeting scheduled in early January.
An EMS coalition held a rally on the steps of the state capitol last month
“It (the broker system) would cut our non-emergency trucks and it has the potential to affect our emergency trucks in the rural area,” Trish Watson of the Lincoln County Emergency Medical Services said at that rally.