The Medical Transportation Access Coalition (MTAC) applauds Congress and President Donald Trump for the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the inclusion of language that will codify the Medicaid non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) benefit into law.

“This is a great moment for the thousands of ride providers and transportation brokers who have labored for decades to provide transportation for the most vulnerable Americans,” said Robert Pittman, a Vice President at Logisticare, one of MTAC’s founding members.

The language included within the year-end omnibus package is based on a previously MTAC-supported bill, H.R. 3935, the Protecting Patients Transportation to Care Act. The bipartisan piece of legislation introduced by lead sponsors Congressman Buddy Carter (R-GA) and Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-CA), along with original co-sponsors Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA), will strengthen Medicaid beneficiary access to non-emergency transportation for necessary health care such as dialysis treatments, mental and behavioral health care, and substance use disorder treatment. The legislation recognizes the longstanding regulatory policy that non-emergency medical transportation is an essential benefit to Medicaid beneficiaries who lack access to reliable transportation.

“All across healthcare, payers and providers are recognizing that transportation improves outcomes and helps contain the cost of treating chronic diseases,” observes Phil Stalboerger, a Vice President at MTM, one of MTAC’s founding members. “This legislation ensures that Medicaid will continue to support efforts to help improve the health of our populations.”

The law also includes important safeguards for providers and drivers as part of a state’s Medicaid program and further strengthens the program integrity of the NEMT benefit. It directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to update guidance issued to states relating to federal requirements for NEMT and administering coverage within Medicaid. Finally, the law requires the Government Accountability Office to study NEMT and its value to the Medicaid program, a step welcomed by MTAC.

“Every administration, Republican and Democrat, has treated NEMT as a required part of the Medicaid program for the last 50 years,” concludes Benjie Alexander of Southeastrans, one of MTAC’s founding members. “Now Congress has removed any doubt.”

Again, MTAC thanks policymakers and our NEMT champions for their tremendous efforts and recognition of the importance of ensuring access to treatment to vulnerable populations. If you would like further information on the specific NEMT provisions, please find MTAC’s fact sheet here.

*Updated 1/13/2021 with Fact Sheet.