New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation
Non-Emergency Patient Transportation Services The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) provides comprehensive medical, mental health, and substance abuse treatment services to New York City residents, regardless of their ability to pay. It operates 11 acute care hospitals, 4 skilled nursing facilities, 6 large diagnostic and treatment centers, and more than 80 community health or school-based clinics.
During our audit period, HHC used 45 independent vendors to provide livery, taxi, ambulette, and ambulance services to transport its patients who needed non-emergency healthcare-related services. Non-emergency patient transportation must be authorized in advance by the patient’s physician and billed to HHC at the agreed-upon contracted rate. HHC will pay for these transportation services where the patients are not covered by Medicaid or other third party insurance. We reviewed the transportation services costs for two selected HHC facilities, which paid a total of $1.6 million for such services during fiscal year 2008. We found that documentation for physician authorization for transportation was provided for selected patients at one of the facilities, but was not always provided at the other facility. We also identified instances in which trips were not billed at the correct rates, and noted that 3 of the 14 drivers working for one of the providers had criminal histories that may be a risk to HHC patients. We recommended that certain improvements be made in HHC’s practices relating to non-emergency patient transportation services.
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