TRENTON – Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham, D-Hudson, released the following statement regarding today’s Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing with the Department of Human Services:
“It has come to my attention, that the Department of Human Services will entertain requests for proposals to outsource a $15 million contract for providing medical transportation for Medicaid recipients. My concern is, if this proposal is implemented, small and minority owned medical transportation companies would be at a definite disadvantage and more than likely could be put out of business.
“Of even greater importance is the fact that, if these carriers are put out of business, poor and disabled residents, who rely greatly on these services, could be left without access to medical transportation.
“It is imperative that there are sufficient medical transportation services to accommodate the increased number of patients in my district, and throughout the State, especially in light of the increasing number of hospital closures statewide. In my heavily congested district for example, the closure of Greenville Hospital has placed a new burden on those who use Medicaid-funded transportation to get to other hospitals and doctors’ appointments.
“By outsourcing these contracts, we are, in essence, giving our stamp of approval to an agreement that would eliminate the need for small businesses like these. The state offers a number of different incentives to help small and minority owned businesses, and when it comes to healthcare transportation companies, it should be no different.
“My goal is not only to ensure that this outsourcing will not adversely affect the health of residents, but also to make sure that we support these small and minority owned companies that specialize in providing these critical services.”