Bill Addressing Transport for Medicaid Patients Advances
Mike Seals - March 3, 2021 10:57 am
OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill designed to address the transportation needs of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable residents passed the House this morning with a vote of 64-16.
House Bill 1012 by Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, clarifies standards for Oklahoma’s Nonemergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) Program, SoonerRide, for Oklahoma Medicaid patients.
“Our current transport system is not adequately addressing the needs of these most vulnerable people who depend on rides to get to life-saving medical appointments,” Bush said. “This legislation helps us set training and education standards for drivers so we can improve these services.”
HB 1012 will require a certification of all transportation providers to ensure they meet federal and state regulations including Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, drug and alcohol testing, and driver training and education standards. The measure also establishes the brokering of rides provided under the SoonerRide program are provided by Oklahomans for Oklahomans.
Bush said the inadequacies of the current system were discovered when she was running legislation last year that developed the Oklahoma Public Transit Policy Plan. During that time, an Inspector General’s report from 2017 was uncovered that found Oklahoma had not adequately overseen its NEMT program. Bush said HB 1012 corrects that.
She said the measure will save the state money as it improves the coordination of services. The measure requires that any NEMT broker must work with the transit industry through mobility management programs, and requires the broker to be a nonprofit entity based in the state of Oklahoma so that trips are provided with the customer in mind, providing a safe, cost-effective ride.
She said she worked with the Health Care Authority on the language of the bill and it is supported by the Oklahoma Transit Authority.
HB 1012 now advances to the state Senate where it is authored by Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan.
Carol Bush represents District 70 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Tulsa County.