The New York State Department of Health has announced the award of a contract to LogistiCare to implement the State’s Medicaid Transportation Management Initiative for Long Island. The award completes the Department’s initiative to implement a statewide transportation management infrastructure. Originally Medicaid transportation was managed and outsourced by individual counties across the state. The state felt that new efficiencies and cost savings could be recognized by centralizing the county contracts into regional ones over time. The strategy has done just that. Six other regions have already been consolidated, including New York City, which is also managed by LogistiCare. This new regional contract for Long Island builds on the successes of Medicaid transportation management in other regions. Great care was taken to ensure a smooth transition by taking the time to understand the member population, their specific needs, how the region might grow, and developing an implementation plan that would start weeks in advance.
Taking a close look at Long Island’s members and drivers
Although NYC is right next to Long Island, the two regions have many notable differences. Because the island is so long, the average distance of a trip is a lot further than what is typical in New York City. The average NYC trip is usually 5-6 miles while the average Long Island trip ranges between 18-19 miles. What Long Island has that NYC doesn’t have is a larger population of Traumatic Brain Injury facilities. Those patients fall into a different category because their health plans include rides that aren’t specifically medically related.
How will this region grow?
The implementation is being phased across two major groups of members, those that are managed by the state via Fee for Service and those who are serviced by Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). The Fee for Service members in the Long Island region includes 300,000 people that are now up and running. Another 300,000 MCO members will be added to the program around January 2016 doubling the level of responsibility. It is also anticipated that a significant amount of new members will receive access as the Affordable Health Act continues to gain momentum. More people are now eligible for services than ever before.
With 261 transportation providers already in the Long Island network, they should be able to handle new demand. However, if LogistiCare finds that additional transportation providers are needed, we will recruit them. LogistiCare increased NYC’s delivery network by 30 providers to handle increased demands by making the business case that participating in the Medicaid Program would increase their revenue. All providers must be enrolled by the NY Department of Health.
LogistiCare was also careful to help health care providers and members determine the correct mode of transportation in the NYC region. This important step is a cost benefit we hope to bring to Long Island as well. Members who are able to get their mileage reimbursed for a caregiver or buy bus and metro tickets to get to their destinations achieve a far less expensive option than to schedule a paid driver. More than 2,000 one-way bus passes were issued in the program’s first week of operation. We expect these modes of transportation to increase in coming years by taking the right steps. LogistiCare believes that good communication with health care providers is critical to creating efficiencies and cost savings for taxpayers, while still providing exceptional care for members. That’s why health providers are a big part of our outreach from the start.
Best practice implementations
Upon notice of award, LogistiCare made appointments and met face to face with workers in over 200 health care facilities including dialysis centers, hospitals, and nursing homes. Three to four teams ventured out every day over an eight week period to answer questions and collect feedback. To couple that effort, webinars were presented to more than 400 facilities prior to the program’s launch and they continue to occur two days a week to retrain or educate new staff. Implementation plans didn’t stop there however.
We also held onsite meetings with the Department of Health and with county officials in their offices to ensure the smoothest transition possible for Long Island. For transportation providers, we conducted a seminar to make sure everyone was clear on new processes for bookings, tracking, and payment. For members, the Department of Health included a cover page article in its monthly newsletter to members and LogistiCare built a website that contained a wealth of information from forms for mileage reimbursement to FAQ sections for easy reference.
It’s a smooth start
LogistiCare takes great steps to make sure that everything goes exactly as planned when taking over a the management of a Medicaid transportation program. Long Island’s implementation is a best practice case. Joe Kukura, General Manager for the Long Island region at LogistiCare, stated, “The first implementation call with the Department of Health occurred a week in and I’m proud to say that we didn’t get any negative feedback from either the NY Department of Health or either County agency.” It’s a testament to the advance planning and outreach that took place before a single ride was enacted.