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State pays extra $1M to troubled MaineCare ride company

PORTLAND (WGME) - There's more controversy surrounding the company hired by the state to give rides to MaineCare recipients. Documents obtained by CBS 13 show the company was paid more than a million dollars extra last month, despite performance problems.

We've been reporting problems with this ride program since the state signed the deal with Connecticut-based Coordinated Transportation Solutions. Since August, thousands of MaineCare patients have complained about missing appointments or being stranded.

Documents we got show since the state signed the contract with CTS, payments have been around $2 million a month. Last month, the state paid CTS more than $3.2 million. Lawmakers on the Health and Human Services committee are now demanding answers about this payment. Representative Drew Gattine (D-Westbrook) told us something just doesn't seem right with the payment.

"You're going to see some variation based upon the number of MaineCare recipients you have in a given month, but you wouldn't expect a large increase like that unless there had a been a spike in the number of people on MaineCare and there hasn't been. The performance of this vendor has been very concerning, and we want to make sure the department is holding their feet to the fire," Rep. Gattine said.

The company's president says questions about last month's big payment should be answered by state officials. DHHS sent us a statement saying the payment adjustment was made to increase the reimbursement rate for its volunteer drivers.

"This payment adjustment was made to CTS when it was clear that the number of volunteers in the network could not be sustained at that per member, per month rate," Spokesman John Martins said in an email to CBS 13.

Last month, the state announced it won't renew the nearly $30 million contract with CTS when it expires in June.