Chiaravalloti aids NJ Together’s Morris chapter in fight to improve, hold ModivCare accountable

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Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31), the vice chair of the Assembly’s Human Services Committee, is aiding New Jersey Together’s Morris chapter in their fight to improve and hold ModivCare accountable after causing thousands of people to miss medical appointments.

Chiaravalloti, whose term is up on December 31st, who was joined by Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-25) during the media call, told HCV today he plans to see this issue through whether he’s an elected official or not.

“The reality is that the company has not performed, they are habitually late – over 400,00 times a year. The statistics are startling. This is one of those things when you hear about and you’re like ‘wait a minute, excuse me?,” he said over the phone.

” … This has to be fixed. The contract goes out to bid next year. We need to continue to work on this issue so that the state puts out a bid that opens this up to competition. Should this be one statewide contract? Should it be broken down be region? Are there other ways to do this? … If they are not fulfilling the contract, they need to be penalized and we need to move on.”

ModivCare, formerly Logisticare, is a non-emergency medical transportation provider that has an over $100 million contract with the New Jersey Department of Health and has been a state vendor since mid-2009, according to public records.

Morris Area Together, a chapter of New Jersey Together, began digging into the issue after hearing numerous stories about patients missing appointments, being left outside for hours, and even being kicked out of substance abuse programs due to repeated tardiness.

“My experience with ModivCare has been relatively negative. Many drivers have issues transporting with my service dog and my most negative experience was when the driver pulled up, saw the dog, and sped away with no explanation,” Beth Holloway, a Wharton resident, said in recorded remarks that played during last week’s virtual press conference.

“When I make reservations for transportation, I always let the dispatcher know them know the service dog is coming. I think it’s very unfair. I mean it’s hard enough traveling and whether or not my ride is picking me up should be the least of my worries.”

ModivCare’s self-reported data shows their drivers were over 30 minutes late more than 400,000 times in 2020 out of about two million round trips.

Similar numbers are reflected in the first six months of 2021, with more than 200,000 rides showing up over a half hour late.

Furthermore,  the same data shows that New Jerseyans called ModivCare/Logisticare’s “Where’s My Ride” number – the number to call if the driver is more than 15 minutes late – more than 878,000 times in 2020 (yet the company only claims to have received around 8,690 complaints about lateness).

Back in May, ModivCare CEO Dan Greenleaf pledged to work with NJ Together, but then went silent for five months. They eventually reached out days ahead of Thursday’s press conference, NJ Together said in a statement.

Additionally, New Jersey Medicaid Director and Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services Jennifer Jacobs has committed to meeting with the Morris Area Together Team and noted that a “corrective action plan” with ModivCare is underway, said Marnie Kaller of the Presbyterian Church in Morristown.

Modivcare has also committed to meeting with the team this week.

Back in 2016, a report from the New Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General said that the state failed to adequately oversee ModivCare.

ModivCare could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.