By Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The company tapped to transport Medicaid patients for non-emergency services in Idaho is ending its $70 million contract with the state, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Monday.
San Diego-based Veyo says its exercising its early termination rights — as allowed under its three year contract — effective March 5, 2018.
"Included in our communication with IDHW were several options that would make it possible for us to continue to provide services to the state, but we have not received any clear commitments to remedy these issues," Veyo President Josh Komenda wrote on Sept. 6. "As a result, Veyo finds itself in the unfortunate position of having to issue this termination letter."
The Department Health and Welfare did not originally include a reason why Veyo was terminating its contract on Monday. Instead, The Associated Press was required to file a public records request with the state Division of Purchasing to get a copy of the termination letter — which was redacted to exempt sections deemed trade secrets.
Health and Welfare officials did not explain why they waited a month to announce Veyo's contract termination.
The state chose Veyo against four other vendors in 2016 to arrange transportation for Medicaid patients to go to non-emergency health care appointments. At the time, the company said its technology-based system would improve transportation and boost driver pay by using a mixture of traditional providers and independent driver providers, similar to an Uber-style business model.
Non-emergency medical transport is a big task in Idaho. According to the department, 100,000 non-emergency Medicaid trips are needed each month. Idaho currently has 300,000 people enrolled in Medicaid.
Since being awarded the contract, however, the company has faced numerous complaints ranging from long delays, untrained drivers and unsafe working conditions.
In January, several traditional providers testified in front of state lawmakers that drivers weren't showing up. Meanwhile medical transport companies argued Veyo was putting them out of business by paying them lower pay than the state's previous contractor.
Veyo representatives countered that the company's complaint rate was 0.1 percent.
"As Veyo pointed out to IDHW in its July 2017 meeting, there has been no statistically significant difference in the complaint or on-time ratios between (independent driver providers) and traditional providers since January 2017 despite (independent driver providers) routinely accepting the most difficult to serve trips rejected by all other traditional providers," Komenda wrote.
Furthermore, according to Komenda's termination letter, the state placed non-contractual restrictions on Veyo's business model before the contract had been launched after receiving "unjustified concerns." This included banning independent driver providers from transporting developmentally disabled people, requiring prior approval to expand the use of independent drivers and prolonging revisions to provider agreements.
Veyo has medical transportation contracts in Colorado, Arizona, Texas, California and Michigan.
"We will continue to work with Veyo to ensure that Medicaid participants receive safe and reliable transportation services that meet their health needs. We are confident we will have a new (non-emergency medical transport) broker in place by the time this contract ends." Matt Wimmer, administrator for the Division of Medicaid, said in a prepared statement.