The state Office of Medical Assistance Programs (OMAP) issued written guidance on May 8, 2020 about the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance remains in effect until the end of the Governor’s Proclamation of Emergency Disaster, which was declared on March 6, 2020.
MATP providers should first screen Medicaid beneficiaries who request shared rides through MATP. The beneficiary should consult their doctor to first determine if the medical appointment can be delayed or done by telemedicine. Prior guidance from OMAP outlined the medical services that can be provided using telemedicine.
The following types of face-to-face visits should be prioritized by MATP providers:
• Radiation therapy;
• Intravenous therapeutic treatments that cannot be administered in a home setting;
• High-risk obstetrical care;
• Non-emergent but urgent clinical visits;
• Trips to pharmacies;
• Medication assisted treatment (methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone);
• Other medical visits that the provider confirms must be done face to face.
If the visit is recommended by the medical provider, the MATP provider should ask the beneficiary when scheduling the MATP trip if they or anyone in the beneficiary’s household:
- Has a fever higher than 100.4 degrees or COVID-19 respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat;
- Had contact with a person (live with or are within 6 ft. for a 10-to-30 minute period) in the past 14 days with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or was told by a medical provider that they may or do have COVID-19; or
- Have tested positive for COVID-19 or been told by a medical provider that they may or do have COVID-19.
If the answers to the above questions are no, MATP providers can transport the beneficiary using as much social distancing (e.g., fewer people in a vehicle) as possible. If the answers to questions 1 and 2 above are yes, the person cannot use MATP shared ride. If the answer to question 3 above is yes, the person cannot use MATP shared ride.
All drivers must wear a face mask. Medicaid beneficiaries should wear a mask if they have one and medical reasons do not prevent them from doing so.
When MATP providers deny a MATP shared ride, that provider must provide the beneficiary with a written denial notice explaining the reason. The MATP provider should also attempt to identify alternative transportation arrangements.
MATP providers should follow state Department of Health (DOH) guidance to determine when beneficiaries with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 can access MATP. DOH recommends that persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 under home isolation be released from isolation after a minimum of three days (72 hours) after resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and at least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
If a beneficiary has been released from home isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, the beneficiary should be transported as an individual rider, and should wear a mask or other face covering (e.g., bandanna, scarf), unless a mask or other face-covering cannot be worn for a medical reason, or unless they are unable to provide themselves with a mask or face covering, until all of the consumer’s symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after symptoms first appeared, whichever is longer.
A beneficiary denied MATP assistance to a medical appointment or pharmacy can be reimbursed for mileage, parking, and tolls if they can transport themself or be transported by family member or others. Effective April 1, 2020, and continuing through the COVID-19 emergency declaration, mileage reimbursement has been increased from $.12 a mile to $.25 a mile. Beneficiaries must first be registered with their county’s MATP provider to access shared rides or mileage reimbursement. Beneficiaries can find their county MATP provider at www.matp.pa.gov or 717-346-3937.
MATP is for non-emergency medical appointments. Beneficiaries with medical emergencies should immediately contact their doctor or call 911.