New York City ambulance owners say dispatch firm owes them millions
National MedTrans Network, a Long Island-based company that dispatches nonemergency ambulances in New York City, has grown at a stunning pace—with revenue increasing 1,765% from 2012 to 2015, according to Crain’s New York Business data. But the city’s ambulance companies that answer its calls say the dispatcher owes them more than $2 million, some of it for trips that date as far back as early 2015.
The ambulance operators get reimbursed less than $200 per nonemergency trip from Medicaid managed-care plans, but each trip costs them about $260, according to an analysis by the Downstate Ambulance Association.
As the broker, National MedTrans handles transportation requests from the so-called managed long-term care plans that tend to elderly and disabled Medicaid patients. National MedTrans acts as the go-between with the ambulance companies and takes a fee on each transaction. It’s responsible for processing the invoices from the ambulance operators and submitting them to the managed care companies for payment.
Demand for National MedTrans’ services has exploded as other states have moved to managed care. National MedTrans is already serving two plans in California, each with more than 200,000 members, and has inked a deal with a Chicago managed-care plan that will start offering transportation bene- fits this year, company President Billy McKee, who is based in Salt Lake City, told Crain’s in August.
But that growth has led to delays in paying vendors, according to a representative of the Downstate Ambulance Association. McKee had said he would produce a dollar amount National MedTrans believed it owed each of the ambulance providers by Nov. 15 and would work with each one to reconcile any differences. That reconciliation process, however, has not yet been completed, according to ambulance company owners.