New York State Attorney General Letitia James has ordered 78 medical transportation companies and providers of transportation services to Medicaid recipients statewide, including 17 in the Rochester area, to stop providing group rides.
An individual in the AG’s office said this week that because the investigation was active the names of the providers could not be released.
A statewide investigation conducted by the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit revealed that dozens of transportation providers have failed to follow the state’s requirements explicitly prohibiting medical transportation providers from conducting medical transports with more than one occupant per vehicle.
Despite the prohibition, the 78 providers continued to conduct group rides, which often involve transporting multiple individuals to medical appointments or clinics, officials said in a statement.
“We have invested a particularly high level of trust in our medical services providers during this crisis,” James said in the statement. “For these companies to continue to conduct group medical transport rides in the face of an explicit prohibition during the unprecedented outbreak of a highly contagious disease is simply and completely unacceptable. We take these violations very seriously and my office will deploy any legal means necessary to stop providers from endangering erring patients and the general public.
In addition to Rochester’s 17 companies, some 31 companies in Buffalo had violated the prohibition, 15 companies in Syracuse and 15 companies in Albany. The state Department of Health had issued the guidance on March 21 in response to the rapidly expanding coronavirus pandemic.