CLEARFIELD – Funding for Clearfield County’s Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP) has been cut by more than $50,000, reported Lisa Kovalick, community development specialist, at Tuesday’s commissioners’ meeting.
MATP provides transportation to medical appointments for medical assistance recipients who do not have transportation available to them.
The county’s MATP program is administered by Central Pennsylvania Community Action Inc. (CPCA). The CPCA has staff members who arrange and ensure individuals receive transport to their medical appointments.
For 2017-18, Kovalick said the commonwealth’s Department of Human Services (DHS) allocated $1,132,264 to the county, which means a funding cut of approximately $54,000 for the MATP program.
Kovalick recently participated in a teleconference with representatives from both DHS and CPCA. She said the commonwealth is encouraging an initiative to utilize the shared ride program.
According to Kovalick, the Area Transportation Authority (ATA) isn’t providing transportation through the shared ride program for some consumers, and it forces CPCA’s hand to use private rides, such as Health Ride and others.
“It drives up costs extremely high,” she said. She plans to discuss with ATA officials about trying to become “more adaptable” for MATP consumers.
For example, Kovalick said if an Irvona resident has a dialysis appointment at 7 a.m. and needs picked up at 6 a.m., ATA doesn’t have anyone on the road then.
She said it’s her hope for the shared ride program to be utilized more, so that it can drive down costs for the MATP program.
Commissioner John A. Sobel said it was mentioned at a recent roundtable with local law enforcement, officials and the Attorney General that individuals shouldn’t be transporting themselves to the methadone clinic.
Sobel asked if these individuals were eligible for the MATP. Kovalick said yes, adding the program is open to any individual who has an Access card and is receiving medical assistance.
She explained that it’s created problems for Health Ride because its drivers are transporting people to and from the clinic. Fortunately, she said the clinic is located in Clearfield and it’s not taking drivers outside the county.
At the conclusion of discussion, the commissioners voted to approve the 2017-18 MATP contracts with the commonwealth’s DHS.