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6/14/2024 General Assembly OKs bill to establish regulatory framework for non-emergency medical transportation
STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Patricia Serpa and Sen. Robert Britto that would establish rules and regulations for non-emergency medical transportation.

The bill (2024-H 8217A, 2024-S 3127A) would establish a safe and reasonable regulatory framework for companies and drivers providing non-emergency medical transportation services to a population of vulnerable passengers through coordination with the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

“Non-emergency medical transportation is a critical service for an extremely vulnerable segment of Rhode Island’s population,” said Representative Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick). “The people who need access to these services often have no other transportation options. This bill will provide a much-needed, stand-alone regulatory framework for the unique services provided by these companies.”

Previously, non-emergency medical transportation vehicles were classified “public motor vehicles” under the regulatory oversight of the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, which was established for the high-end sedan, limousine and trolley industry.

“This bill very competently addresses a regulatory shortcoming that has caused a lot of headaches for this state — particularly among those who rely on this type of transportation,” said Senator Britto (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket). “Prior to this legislation, the state was forced to regulate non-emergency transportation the same way as it does luxury sedans. This change will be a win for the state.”

The bill comes in the wake of several high-profile incidents with Medical Transportation Management Inc., the company that has been responsible for coordinating transportation services for Medicaid beneficiaries and individuals over the age of 60 for non-emergency medical services since 2019. The company’s service to the state began as a rocky one, with many complaints that the service had either been delayed or that drivers never showed up.

The House Oversight Committee, which is chaired by Representative Serpa, met several times to review hundreds of complaints lodged against the vendor.

The legislation provides the Executive Office of Health and Human Services with jurisdiction regarding the acceptability of the vehicles used in the program, allowing the office to establish its own standards for vehicle age, mileage, cleanliness and other factors. The bill also streamlines the process for the timely issuance of certificates of operating authority.

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903