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Arkansas seeks $3.7M over botched transportation contract

by Andy Davis | February 23, 2019 at 4:30 a.m.

Arkansas is seeking more than $3.7 million in damages from a company over its botched execution of contracts to provide rides to the doctor and day care centers for Medicaid recipients in 32 counties.

The state Department of Human Services last month canceled the contracts with St. Louis-based Medical Transportation Management, effective Jan. 31, after receiving widespread complaints from patients who had missed appointments.

In a letter to the company on Tuesday, department Chief of Procurement Sarah Collins Linam notified the company of the amount of damages the department is seeking as a result of the company's failure to meet the contract terms.

The damages include:

• $147,500, or $500 per trip, for 295 trips the company failed to provide.

• Almost $2.7 million, calculated at $10,000 per driver, for failing to submit required records on its 269 drivers.

• $230,000, or $1,000 per vehicle, for failing to equip 230 vehicles with cameras.

• A total of $16,200 for failing to establish a business center and call center in the state as specified in the contract.

• $630,000 for failure to obtain a performance bond. That's how much the state paid Atlanta-based Southeastrans to help provide rides in Medical Transportation's service area from Jan. 15-31, Linam said.

Southeastrans took over providing all of the rides in the area on Feb. 1.

"Had MTM provided a bond as required in the [invitation for bid] and state law, DHS would have sought recovery of those expenses on that bond," Linam wrote.

Medical Transportation Management spokesman Michelle Lucas said her company will contest the amount and is reviewing its options.

"We think the amount is greatly inflated," she said.

In a text message, she noted that the company was only given one business day to implement one of its contracts, which came in response to a federal lawsuit and was signed by the company on Dec. 28.

"Not set up for success," she wrote.

Medical Transportation Management in October was awarded the contract for the four-region area in northern, central and eastern Arkansas, including Pulaski County, after submitting the lowest bid. Southeastrans had submitted the second-lowest bid for the same area.

That contract could have been renewed for up to seven years and called for Medical Transportation Management to receive about $13.1 million a year for arranging rides to medical appointments for Medicaid recipients who lack other forms of transportation.

Implementation of that contract was delayed until Nov. 28 by an unsuccessful protest filed by Southeastrans, a Human Services Department spokesman has said.

A second, one-year contract, called for Medical Transportation Management to be paid $7.7 million to take recipients with developmental disabilities to day treatment centers that provide speech, occupational and physical therapy.

That contract resulted from a Dec. 21 settlement with the day centers, which filed a federal lawsuit in response to the state's plans to stop allowing children and adults with developmental disabilities to use nonemergency medical transportation to get to day treatment centers on Jan. 1.

Lucas has blamed the company's performance on the short amount of time it had to prepare to take over the service and the refusal of the Area Agency on Aging of Western Arkansas, which previously served much of the area, to enter into a contract with it.

Metro on 02/23/2019

Print Headline: Arkansas seeks $3.7M over botched transportation contract

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