DOT Innovation in Michigan

This report is one of several created as part of our DOT Innovation work in the state of Michigan. See the full series ››

Mobility Management & Coordination for Non-Emergency Medical Transportation for the Lansing, MI region

The Michigan Sense of Place Council, representing numerous state agencies under the direction of Governor Snyder, engaged in a partnership with Smart Growth America to provide technical advisory services to six communities of Michigan pursuing livable communities initiatives. The communities are the City of Marquette, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), ReImagine Washtenaw (Washtenaw County), the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC), the City of Grand Rapids, and the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments (NWMCOG). As part of the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities program, the program seeks to coordinate federal funding directed to housing, transportation, and other infrastructure in communities to create more livable places where people can access jobs while reducing pollution and also saving time and money. The assistance provided by Smart Growth America was in two primary areas – community mobility management and strategic transportation demand management (TDM).

Stakeholders in the Tri-County area asked the project team to identify barriers and solutions for improving non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) in the region. Specifically, they directed the team to focus on research and outreach to develop a better understanding of the most significant federal NEMT funding sources for services being provided in the Lansing TriCounty region. Medicaid is by far the largest and most complex of these funding sources and has been the primary focus of this project. Because of its growing complexity, Medicaid-funded NEMT is also of increasing interest to stakeholders throughout the state and the nation.

To fully explore NEMT challenges and opportunities, the project team researched and conducted outreach to people in the Tri-County region, at the state level and in other states. The team:

  • Reviewed a wide range of published information about Medicaid funding for transportation.
  • Researched the availability of statewide and region-wide data about the amounts, recipients and uses of this funding in the Tri-County area.
  • Interviewed and surveyed human services agencies in the region that are using this funding to provide transportation.
  • Interviewed a variety of federal and state agency officials to develop an understanding of how this funding is managed in the region.
  • Conducted data analysis to quantify the impact of NEMT.
  • Researched models from other states.

Based on this work, the following chapters present a summary of the key challenges surrounding Medicaid-funded NEMT; tools and techniques that can help address those challenges; local practices in the Tri-County region; strategies and alternatives that were considered for the region; and a recommended implementation plan that could improve availability, efficiency, and cost allocation for NEMT.