Young says Medicaid provider enrollment rules should use new transportation technologies

U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) is urging the federal government to work with state Medicaid programs to encourage the use of new technology, such as ridesharing services, to help improve medical access for underserved communities that include many elderly and disabled beneficiaries.

When it comes to implementing innovative transportation programs in states, the federal Medicaid provider enrollment requirements are not clear in how they apply across provider types.

“To remedy this confusion, we respectfully request CMS give state Medicaid programs the opportunity to innovate in the space of ridesharing or other new technologies that might increase the efficiency and program integrity of the non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) benefit,” Sen. Young wrote in a letter sent last month to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma.

“Particularly, we would ask that CMS partner with states to the fullest extent possible to ensure that ridesharing services and other new technologies are a feasible and viable option in the NEMT space,” according to the senator’s letter.

Sen. Young pointed out that Medicaid has not kept up with the many technological innovations in healthcare because its “rigid and outdated structure” has limited the ability of states to help beneficiaries reach improved health outcomes.

“The NEMT benefit is one area where the CMS and states can work together to better encourage the use of new technology already being used in the private sector,” Sen. Young wrote.

Sen. Young wrote that Transportation Network Companies (TNC), commonly known as rideshare companies, could improve the current NEMT benefit, as well as the beneficiary experience with shorter wait times and faster service.

“States should have the option of implementing similar models if it makes sense for their programs and populations,” he wrote.