The White House has proposed removing non-emergency transportation from the list of mandatory Medicaid benefits.
The proposed FY 2020 budget released last week explained that
Statute allows, but does not require, States to provide non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT). Instead, these services were made mandatory Medicaid benefits by regulation. Further, a Government Accountability Office study found Medicaid NEMT spending totaled $1.5 billion in 2013, and NEMT programs face multiple challenges, including difficulties in obtaining costs and maintaining program integrity. To address these issues, this proposal would update regulations to clarify the NEMT benefit is strictly optional.
Medical transportation has long been viewed as vital means for helping Medicaid patients keep doctors’ appointments and recover from their illnesses and injuries and for overcoming some social determinants of health. Loss of this tool would be harmful for private safety-net hospitals and the patients and communities they serve. NASH will closely monitor the progress of this proposal.