Snyder: State must delay planned changes that would adversely affect Medical Assistance recipients, seniors

Legislators urging state to suspend mandate until study is conducted

HARRISBURG, April 9 – State Rep. Pam Snyder was among several legislators who are urging the state to delay a plan that would mandate shared ride services for Medical Assistance recipients go through statewide or regional vendors instead of county or locally based services.


Snyder, D-Fayette/Greene/Washington, was joined by House and Senate Democratic and Republican members today to provide details of their legislation. House Bill 986 and S.B. 390 would request the state Department of Human Services to suspend the plan until a thorough review is conducted by the Joint State Government Commission to study the impacts it could have on each county.


“While we all want to save money, I’m not convinced this plan will do that,” Snyder said. “We do need to press the pause button. We need to see how this is truly going to impact people in Pennsylvania. It can’t be a cookie-cutter approach. What may work in Philly or Pittsburgh won’t necessarily work in Waynesburg or Uniontown or Washington.”


Last year, the state Human Services Code included this transportation requirement as a way to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, modeling it after similar efforts in other states.


“From 2011 to 2015, the Texas nonmedical emergency medical transportation program saw its costs quadruple, its complaints triple, and ridership decline by 50 percent,” said Richard Farr, executive director of the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association. “By sharing the ride with other human service transportation programs, Pennsylvania can provide significantly more trips to more locations at a lower cost.”


Karen Bennett, human services administrator for Greene County, which oversees the county-run transportation program, which includes shared ride services for MA recipients, said she is very concerned about the DHS plan.


“For rural counties, including Greene County, this is a tragedy and will definitely affect access for our senior citizens and our most vulnerable clients to get transportation to services and where they need to go, including medical appointments,” Bennett said.


In addition to the PPTA, supporters of the bills include the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Association of County Human Services Administrators.


House Bill 986 is currently under consideration in the House Health Committee; S.B. 390 is under consideration in that chamber’s Health and Human Services Committee.