COUNTY—The Wayne County Commissioners signed Resolution 2019-5-2, Thursday, formally voicing their disagreement with and opposition to anticipated changes to the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP), approved as a budget addendum by the Pennsylvania Legislature in June 2018.

As earlier reported, the change looks to transition the MATP program, currently operated by individual counties as a coordinated system with other transportation services, to a separate brokerage system operated regionally.

In moving to adopt the resolution, Commissioner Wendell Kay stated, “I do regard this proposed change as a solution that's in search of a problem. Our MATP program that runs here in Wayne County runs very efficiently, very smoothly, and does not need any changes at this time.”

Seconding the motion, Commissioner Joseph Adams added “...our MATP works hand-in-hand with our senior citizens' transportation that's partially provided by the lottery. It just doesn't make any sense to split the two. [You'd] have to have twice as many vehicles and drivers to accomplish the same thing.”

According to the resolution, the Wayne County Transportation System (WCTS) provides service for over 19,000 MATP-related transports each year with over 35 percent of the transit authority's overall funding coming from MATP.

The resolution further states the brokerage system initially indicated an additional $15 million statewide in Department of Human Services (DHS) funding, but increased costs will likely balance out if not exceed the supplemental funding.

The resolution avers an MATP brokerage system will likely increase costs to Pennsylvania by $35.1 million (23 percent), reduce service hours and availability, and transfer jobs and potential program funding out of the area.

Following their passage of the resolution, the commissioners submitted it along with an accompanying letter of disapproval to the State Senators and Representatives, DHS, the Governor and regional Commissioners “...to respectfully request the Administration and General Assembly take steps to suspend the award of the RFA and consider taking action to study this issue further before initiating any changes,” states the resolution.

In separate business pertaining to MATP, the commissioners received and approved the grant agreement and assurance of compliance for the 2019-2020 fiscal year MATP allocation.

“I regard this as a positive omen that there will be an MATP program in existence going forward...,” said Commissioner Kay at Thursday's meeting.

Delaying changes

As earlier reported, members of the legislature, including Senator Lisa Baker (R-20th, Wayne, Wyoming, Pike, Susquehanna, Luzerne) and Representative Jonathan Fritz (R-111th, Wayne, Susquehanna) have introduced and supported legislation to delay implementation of the brokerage system for a year.

Senate Bill 390 has been re-referred to the Appropriations committee as of April 30, after passing both considerations in the Health and Human Services Committee.

House Bill 986 has had no actions taken on it since it was first referred to the Health Committee on April 2.