HARTFORD, CT – The state contract with the company providing non-emergency transportation to Medicaid patients was set to expire this month, just as the company was making improvements, but it was extended until March 31, 2022 to avoid any mid-winter transition.
A recent audit by the Auditors of Public Accounts found the state and a private company running the program had a 78% improvement rate since it made 59 recommendations in a February 2020 audit.
That audit followed years of complaints about Veyo, the company hired to a three-year, $140 million contract with the Department of Social Services in January 2018 to provide Connecticut’s 850,000 Medicaid patients with transportation to their doctors.
Veyo, which doesn’t own any fleet of vehicles, must contract with taxi and livery companies or independent drivers to offer rides to. The company also distributes bus passes and reimburses family and friends for mileage if they end up driving a patient to the doctor.
Approximately 59% of the trips are completed by bus, 32% by taxi or livery, 7% by wheelchair van, and 2% by mileage reimbursement, according to auditors.
The auditors found that nearly two-thirds of trips arranged by Veyo occur by public transit. One of the recommendations by the auditors was to improve information about public transit.
The auditor’s recent report released last week found the company was fulfilling this recommendation along with 46 more recommendations of the 59 original ones.
The original audit touched on issues with the call center and transportation providers, in addition to the data the private contractor provided the state Department of Social Services.
The contract has been amended to now require that at least 50% of the total call minutes during regular business hours be handled by the Connecticut call center.
There were complaints from Medicaid patients that their calls were being answered by call centers in other states where customer service representatives didn’t necessarily know Connecticut.
The Auditors of Public Accounts also recommended that any future contract define what constitutes an abandoned call at a call center so that they are included in monthly reports.
There were complaints from patients who simply gave up in frustration while trying to schedule a ride. Instead of calculating that hang up as part of the data, the company excluded it.
“The amended contract now states, ‘Abandonment rate shall be measured as all calls held in queue to be answered, post IVR, for more than 60 seconds where the member disconnected from the call prior to it being answered by an agent divided by the total calls offered,’” according to the auditors.
There were also complaints that drivers would leave before a patient could get down the stairs. A wait time of 10 minutes is now required before declaring a member to be a no-show for a ride, according to the audit.
There were also complaints that patients would get dropped off at the doctor and wait for hours to get a ride back home.
“The amended contract includes performance standards which address pickup wait times and drop-off times,” the auditors said in the recent report.
The auditors also recommended that the Department of Social Services require Veyo to explain any changes in monthly report calculations of on-time trip percentages.
“Going forward, Veyo will document any changes in monthly report calculations of on-time trip percentages. However, Veyo will not implement the recommendation to explain these changes,” the auditors wrote.
The Department of Social Services and Veyo said “As noted originally, the process through which this was done, was public and transparent, and the changes were mutually agreed upon by DSS, Veyo and stakeholders. Going forward, changes will be noted in the report document itself.”
The auditors said DSS has partially implemented its recommendation regarding the status of trip data.
“DSS informed us that it would continue to monitor the recording of trip status data more closely and take appropriate action when necessary. DSS considers this a continuation of its original practice,” the auditors said.