The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

January 28, 2013

State pushes back decision

By Jason O'Boyd, Staff Writer

Monday, January 28, 2013 — The state has postponed a decision that directly affects the Stanly County Umbrella Services Agency (SCUSA) program.

The General Assembly issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) for Non-Emergency Medicaid Transportation throughout the state. The state Department of Health and Human Services and the Office for Procurement and Contract Services specifically issued the RFP on Oct. 15, 2012.

The original deadline for proposal submissions was Nov. 15, 2012. However, questions and issues regarding the proposal and the impact it would affect current services like SCUSA delayed the process. The new deadline for submitted proposals was set last Wednesday, but has been pushed back to Feb. 6.

“I saw it (Tuesday) and it was posted to the state purchasing website that the RFP was still open,” said Gwen Hinson, director of SCUSA.

“It says at this time it’s still pending and that a decision is forthcoming. I think people are just asking for further inference. It’s just been extended to give the time requested. That’s the only reason I know it would be extended.

“I’m certain other people have asked for information and clarification, so I assume that was what this was.”

The proposal addendum was posted on the state’s website late Wednesday. In it, it states the specifics interested vendors must follow in order to submit their proposal.

Among the questions that have been asked, which was part of the reason for the proposal deadline to be pushed back, were “the number of monthly Medicaid members in North Carolina” (1,532,126 as of June 2012) and “which count of Medicaid members will be used to pay the contractor” (“contractors will be paid based upon Unduplicated Eligibles”).

The proposal was issued to solicit potential parties that would ultimately be contracted to assist Medi-caid patients with general transportation duties such as trips to the doctor, grocery store or other locations. If the state goes through with the proposal, a third party could come into places such as Stanly County and take over the shuttling services for Medicaid patients.

That would affect about 25 percent of the total number of people SCUSA currently assists. The decision could affect SCUSA in many ways, including the reduction of hours serviced and people employed.

“I’m anxious to see it once it gets posed, but they don’t give a time frame,” Hinson said.

“At this point, it’s getting a little nerve-racking. Let’s just make a decision. It’s getting to be budget time and if the contract comes out, you have to figure out how to budget it.

“It’s getting to the point where they just need to get something done. I think everyone across the state is anxious to make a decision so we can proceed and see what will be done.”