Crawford County commissioners are against potential changes to Pennsylvania's Medical Assistance Transportation Program to remove county management of Medicaid-funded bus rides.

Commissioners voted to support a of resolution against changing to a broker-based system in which two or three brokers would manage Medicaid busing statewide rather than leave scheduling in the hands of local transportation officials.

Last week, Tim Geibel, executive director of Crawford Area Transportation Authority, asked commissioners to support a resolution against changing to a broker-based system.

Geibel, chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association, a trade group opposing the centralization plan, said the switch would cost the state more money and cut into services and funding provided by local transit systems.

Medical Assistance riders would be required to call into a regional call center to schedule trips instead of directly through local agencies like CATA, Geibel said. The change means they won’t be able to combine their medical trips with trips for other purposes — requiring them to make two separate scheduling calls.

Medical Assistance trips make up about 30 percent of CATA’s shared-ride program in Crawford and Venango counties, which provides door-to-door service, Geibel said.

Medical Assistance recipients are eligible for free rides for medical treatment and doctor appointments though the state’s MATP service, which receives federal funding through Medicaid. Community Health Services is the primary provider of MATP services in Crawford County with CATA subcontracting for many of the trips, Geibel said.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is considering consolidating management of the Medicaid busing program from dozens of providers to just two or three to enable the state to get $15 million more in federal money. 

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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