Missouri now has a new transportation service company that will begin providing rides for Medicaid patients needing transportation to their doctors. The new $25.6 million contract was awarded to an Atlanta firm over last year's successful bidder, Lake St. Louis-based Medical Transportation Management Inc.
But here's the kicker. The new contract is $15 million less than the current contract and state officials say we'll actually get improved service through the new arrangement.
Now back to Medical Transportation Management, the former contractor. It gets a little confusing but the Missouri firm last year was not the low bidder yet got the contract after they protested the bidding process. But then the state began an investigation that resulted in Medical Transportation returning $2.4 million to the state because of irregularities.
I certainly don't know all the details but something stinks here. When a contract for transportation drops by $15 million in one year, you must look at the former year and wonder just what was going on. In an era of higher gasoline costs, how can a firm lower the cost to the state by a huge margin and still make a profit?
I am of the belief that the $2.4 million the Missouri firm returned to the state was just a drop in the bucket. The attorney general should dig much deeper into the past contract because the numbers just don't add up.
The public needs to realize the exploding costs of Medicaid in Missouri. Part of the problem is the cost of transportation. Was Missouri actually getting a fair deal last year from the $40 million contract? And if so, then how can anyone drop the price $15 million and still make a profit?
I'm glad the state will be saving $15 million of our tax dollars. But I still wonder about the details of last year's higher costs. And I firmly believe the state should examine in greater details just what happened last year and who pocketed the money.