Department of Health

Oversight of Medicaid Transportation Payments in New York City (Follow-Up Report)

If a Medicaid recipient needs medical services, but cannot get to those services, federal regulations require that transportation be provided to the recipient. Such transportation may be provided on an emergency basis by ambulances, or on a non-emergency basis by ambulettes, livery, personal cars or public transportation. (An ambulette is a vehicle specially equipped to transport individuals who cannot be transported without personal assistance.)

In our initial audit report 2002-S-19, we examined Medicaid payments for non-emergency transportation services in New York City and determined that the payments were significantly higher than necessary, mainly because many of the Medicaid recipients transported by ambulette did not need this specialized type of service and could have been transported by less costly means such as livery or public transportation. We estimated that, if the unnecessary costs identified by our audit were eliminated, Medicaid costs could be reduced by $23 million a year. We recommended that a number of improvements be made in the controls over Medicaid payments for ambulette services. When we followed up on these matters with Department of Health officials, we found that some action had been taken to implement our audit recommendations, but additional action was needed if the recommendations were to be fully implemented.

For a complete copy of Report 2004-F-29 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.