Cuyahoga County HHSA Committee passes two contracts, hears update on vaccine rollout

Will Tarter
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April 19, 2021
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The Cuyahoga County Health, Human Services and Aging (HHSA) Committee met to consider two contracts, one related to transportation and the other for homeless services at its March 31 meeting.[bctt tweet="How is @CuyahogaCounty helping #Medicaid recipients get to their medical appointments?" username="CommunitySols"]

The first contract was awarded to AmeriCab, in an amount not-to-exceed $8 million for non-emergency transportation services for Medicaid-eligible individuals. The contract began on March 1, 2020 and will conclude on February 28, 2023. Speaking about the contract was Paul Porter, Program Officer Administrator for the Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services. Porter said that the contract award was the result of a Request for Proposal (RFP), for medical transportation, which will award up to $4 million per year for each contract year. Porter said the county received six proposals in response to the RFP and AmeriCab scored the highest. The county expects AmeriCab will provide up to 20,000 one-way rides, per month, for people who are Medicaid-eligible. The contract is 100 percent federally funded through Medicaid. Committee Chair Yvonne Conwell asked Porter to clarify what types of appointments would be eligible for transportation through the contract. Porter clarified that the trips would be for non-emergency medical appointments, such as dialysis or a doctor’s visit, not trips that would require use of an ambulance. Porter went on to explain how the contract works, where the county sends a monthly roster of county individuals who are eligible to book trips through the vendor, and the vendor handles booking and dispatching drivers. Responding to a question from Conwell about how long AmeriCab has been a vendor on this contract, Patrick Keenan, General Manager for AmeriCab, replied that AmeriCab was brought in on an emergency basis 14 years ago, and has been awarded the contract ever since through a competitive-bid process every two years. The contract was passed to the full council under second reading suspension, meaning that it will not need three readings.

Fifty-six percent of the contract awarded to Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry for emergency homeless services will be funded with Health and Human Service levy funds.

The second item for discussion was a contract not-to-exceed $3,958,232 awarded to Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM) for emergency homeless services provided at the 2100 Lakeside Avenue men’s homeless shelter. The contract runs from January 1 to September 3, 2022. Fifty-six percent of the contract will be funded with Health and Human Service levy funds with the remaining 44 percent coming from federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economy Security (CARES) Act. The 2100 Lakeside Avenue shelter operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and has 365 beds on site, according to Michelle Sirak, Director of the Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services. The county has an agreement with St. Paul’s church to accommodate any overflow, where men would use overflow mats, if necessary. Michael Sering, Vice President of Housing and Shelter for LMM, spoke about how the shelter has been operating at 50 percent capacity to maintain social distancing and reduce the likelihood of spread of COVID-19, with several individuals being sheltered at local hotels. The contract was approved, under second reading suspension, and forwarded to the full council.

The committee then heard an update from the City of Cleveland on vaccine distribution. The meeting was then adjourned.

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