TAPS traveled to Austin recently to meet with members of the Texas Legislature about local public transportation issues. The visit was hosted by Rep. Larry Phillips and Sen. Bob Deuell.
Representing TAPS was Board of Directors Member, Spanky Carter; Tim Patton, TAPS Grants and Quality Assurance Director; and Barbara Reeves, TAPS Media Relations and Mobility Manager.
“It was a great opportunity to meet the people that represent us in Austin,” said Patton. “It’s critical that we have the support of these leaders if we are going to keep the Texoma region’s transportation plan on track.”
Spanky Carter, who is also County Judge for Fannin County, said communicating TAPS’s needs and plans to lawmakers is vital.
At the top of the agenda for discussion was the current issue over how Texas Medicaid clients get to their medical appointments. Since last summer, the state’s Health and Human Services Commission radically changed the way Medicaid trips are assigned to transportation providers, and how they are paid for. The new model in dispute is known as the “Full-Rick Broker” model.
The change instituted by HHSC resulted in more than 7,000 user complaints and a loss of more than $75,000 per month in revenue for TAPS Public Transit.
Patton said Sen. Deuell was well-educated on the Full-Risk Broker issue and was very supportive of reversing the current model. “He was very well informed on the matter and provided an excellent overview for his colleagues about why this is such an important issue,” said Patton.