Contracting with MAS: What Transportation Providers Need to Know
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has emphasized the need for Medicaid-eligible individuals to receive reliable, high-quality non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services.
To achieve this, NYSDOH has entered into a contract with Medical Answering Services, LLC (MAS) to oversee and manage the transportation needs of these individuals for the entire state of New York.
With this transition and the establishment of MAS as the central Medicaid Transportation Broker, transportation providers must contract with MAS to deliver Medicaid NEMT services statewide.
By contracting with MAS, transportation providers (TP) align themselves with the state’s vision and ensure their services cater to a significant portion of the population that relies on Medicaid for their medical transportation needs.
- August 1, 2023: NYSDOH designates MAS as the central Medicaid Transportation Broker, centralizing the responsibilities previously handled by multiple managers.
- Beginning of October 2023: MAS initiates contracting with TPs.
- December 1, 2023: Transition of responsibilities to the Broker model for Nassau and Suffolk counties.
- By December 31, 2023, MAS plans to conclude the contracting process with all TP Network members.
Note: These dates are subject to change.
Onboarding with MAS
The contracting process is initiated by MAS, which reaches out to potential and existing TPs to inform them of the upcoming contracting phase.
This is typically marked by a formal announcement or notification outlining the requirements, timelines, and expectations. TPs are then expected to respond, expressing their interest and readiness to participate.
Key Stakeholders and Their Roles
- NYSDOH: As the governing body, NYSDOH oversees the entire framework of NEMT services in the state. They set guidelines and standards and ensure that Medicaid-eligible individuals receive high-quality transportation services.
- MAS: As the designated Medicaid Transportation Broker, MAS is the intermediary between NYSDOH and TPs. They handle the contracting process, ensure compliance, verify service quality, and manage the logistical aspects of transportation coordination.
- TPs: These are the companies that provide NEMT services. Their role is to adhere to the standards set by MAS, ensure safe and efficient transportation, and maintain continuous communication with MAS regarding any contractual obligations.
How MAS Plans to Transition TPs
MAS adopts a comprehensive approach to bring TPs into the new system. The plan is two-fold:
- Outreach and Engagement: MAS proactively contacts TPs, educating them about the contracting process, requirements, and benefits. This ensures providers are aware of and interested in the contracting opportunity.
- Contracting Process: MAS has set clear timelines for the contracting process. They initiated the process in early October and aim to conclude with all TP Network members by the end of December. This structured approach ensures plenty of time for TPs to understand and fulfill their requirements and onboard into the MAS system.
Differences between Transportation Manager and Broker
Understanding the change from a Transportation Manager to a Broker is crucial for TPs, as it shapes their interactions, expectations, and the dynamics of the NEMT service providers and MAS relationship.
Transportation Manager: A transportation manager is primarily responsible for overseeing the logistical aspects of transportation operations.
Broker: In the NEMT context, a broker bridges transportation providers and entities (like Medicaid programs) seeking transportation services. They don’t usually own vehicles or employ drivers but ensure that transportation is provided efficiently, safely, and in line with contractual agreements.
- Facilitating contracts between transportation providers and service seekers.
- Ensuring quality and reliability of transportation services.
- Handling scheduling, billing, and customer service inquiries.
- Monitoring compliance with service agreements and ensuring client satisfaction.
For transportation providers (TPs), it is essential to understand the roles and responsibilities of transportation managers and brokers to tailor their interactions and services appropriately.
For example, TPs should be aware that transportation managers are more likely to be interested in the specifics of TP operations, such as vehicle maintenance schedules and driver training programs.
On the other hand, brokers may focus more on the overall quality and reliability of TP services.
Requirements for Contracting
For TPs to be eligible to provide NEMT services under MAS, they must meet additional requirements.
These are in place to guarantee the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the transportation services provided to Medicaid-eligible individuals.
Medicaid Exclusion Checks
Medicaid exclusion checks are thorough verifications to ensure potential Medicaid exclusions for drivers, vendors, or TPs.
- Importance: These checks ensure that individuals participating in providing Medicaid transportation services are not blacklisted, maintaining the integrity and purpose of the Medicaid program.
- Potential Implications: Non-compliance or discrepancies in these checks could lead to the suspension of a TP from the network, affecting its reputation and revenue.
TPs must have the proper insurance coverage. This includes general liability, disability insurance coverage, and worker’s compensation.
To prove they have these insurances, TPs use specific forms known as ACORD forms. These are standardized forms used across the insurance industry to confirm coverage details.
- ACORD 25: Confirms general liability insurance.
- ACORD 130: Certifies workers’ compensation and employer’s liability insurance.
- ACORD 145: Validates disability insurance coverage.
Credentialing evaluates and verifies an NEMT driver’s qualifications, capabilities, and track record.
- Importance: This ensures that NEMT drivers adhere to high service delivery standards, guaranteeing passenger safety and service reliability.
- Verifying Credentials: In the new MAS interface, TPs must upload every driver’s social security number, date of birth, and license number. MAS will connect with the DMV to check the driving record and regularly update it for NEMT fleet drivers.
MAS now requires TPs to input their VIN for each vehicle in their fleet.
Since a VIN is permanent and unique for a vehicle, this will ensure compliance and a healthy Medicaid ecosystem.
Inspection Requirements: The driver must inspect each vehicle before every shift, which should be documented daily. MAS may spot-check or audit daily vehicle inspection documentation at any time.
GPS tracking is essential for real-time monitoring of vehicle movements, ensuring route efficiency and passenger safety.
Requirements: TPs must equip their vehicles with reliable GPS systems. Tracking data should be accessible in real-time, with regular updates to ensure accuracy.
Tobi Works with All Major Brokers
As an advanced NEMT software solution, Tobi is adept at simplifying the transportation process and works with all major brokers and billing partners.
With its user-friendly interface and automated features, Tobi facilitates smooth communication between TPs and MAS, streamlines electronic attestation, and provides real-time updates on trip status.
Contracting with MAS is vital in offering essential transportation services to Medicaid-eligible individuals in New York in the future.
Understanding the details and stipulations of this process is crucial for NEMT providers to deliver services seamlessly.
Tools like Tobi enhance TPs’ capabilities, enabling them to meet MAS standards more effectively and contribute to a transport system emphasizing safety, efficiency, and reliability.