Washington (January 8, 2020) – The Medical Transportation Access Coalition (MTAC) applauded the House Energy & Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health for holding a legislative hearing on legislation that would codify the Medicaid non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) benefit into law.
The subcommittee included the bipartisan Protecting Patients Transportation to Care Act (HR 3935), sponsored by Congressmen Buddy Carter (R-GA) and Tony Cardenas (D-CA) as part of a slate of bills focused on improving health coverage and outcomes.
The legislation seeks to strengthen Medicaid beneficiary access to transportation to non-emergency health appointments such as dialysis treatments, mental and behavioral healthcare, substance use disorder (SUD) treatments and visits to manage multiple chronic conditions. The Medicaid NEMT benefit is used by a small percentage of beneficiaries and accounts for less than one-percent of total programmatic spending yet enjoys a very strong return-on-investment for its ability to help keep beneficiaries from incurring more intensive and higher-cost health interventions. It has existed in regulation since the early years of Medicaid but is not currently written into the Medicaid statute, making it vulnerable to potential regulatory changes.
During the hearing, a number of subcommittee members spoke favorably about the legislation, indicating strong support for ensuring beneficiary access to this important benefit. MTAC is urging the committee to promptly mark-up the legislation in subcommittee and full committee so that it could ultimately be included in a larger package of healthcare legislation later in the year. A Senate companion measure similar to HR 3935, S. 2846, was introduced in November 2019.
The legislative hearing follows enactment of a final Fiscal Year 2020 spending bill last month that directed the Department of Health and Human Services to not take any regulatory actions on availability of NEMT in Medicaid until the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) completes a study on the benefits of NEMT.