TAPS finalizing contract with Texas HHSC to provide Medicaid ser - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

TAPS finalizing contract with Texas HHSC to provide Medicaid services

SHERMAN, TX -- Texoma Medicaid patients will soon have a new way to get to the doctor’s office. TAPS Public Transit is on the verge of finalizing a new contract with the State of Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

"In the early beginning stages, in 2009 TAPS was..we had some issues.,” said Brad Underwood, TAPS CEO. “But now I think this is kind of a final step of proving we're past that. We’re good and we’re growing."

TAPS Public Transit is in the final stages of negotiating a contract that would offer transportation for an estimated 55,000 Medicaid patients.

"It's incredible to me how they cover this town, this area and people like me without transportation," said Owen Perry, who uses TAPS five days a week.

But Perry says it hasn’t always been an ideal ride.  

"Of course at first the service left a little to be desired, but they've corrected the problem now," said Perry.

Underwood with TAPS expects the new service to help several of its current customers, like Perry.

"They've always called us to take them to all those different stops,” said Underwood, “but when it comes to doctor appointments, if you're a Medicaid recipient, you couldn't call us. You had to call a completely different number, a different service, that's all going to stop."

"A lot of people could use that I'm sure, I have Medicare,” said Perry, “and there's a lot of people that will need that."

The contract will cover a “super region” of 16 counties in North Texas, which includes Grayson, Fannin and Cooke. TAPS is the first transit in the state to offer Medicaid services.

"It'll make TAPS the largest rural and small urban transit provider in the state,” said Underwood, “and the top three nationally."

With an expansion this big, Underwood says finalizing this contract will have a positive economic impact on the community as well.

"We have almost 250 employees that are currently employed at TAPS,” he said, “we're probably going to need at least another 100 and probably more."

Underwood says services will be made available to Medicaid patients by September 1 and TAPS will increase the number of buses on the roads to prevent disrupting current scheduled routes. Hiring for the new positions will begin immediately.