Instead of considering a medical diagnosis as a firm eligibility determination, MTM’s On the Move assessment program provides in-person evaluations that focus on each passenger’s actual functional and cognitive abilities. Our evaluators utilize recognized tools such as the Functional Assessment of Cognitive Transit Skills (FACTS) test, as well as methodologies set forth by the National Transit Institute and Easter Seals Project ACTION (ESPA), to determine environmental, architectural, and personal barriers that may impact a passenger’s ability to safely and independently access public transit.
MTM provides full management of assessments on behalf of transit agencies, communities, school districts, Medicaid programs, and organizations serving special needs populations—leaving you to focus on other aspects of your operations while we facilitate passenger independence and better access to the community.
MTM’s Assessment Experience
Every year, MTM’s On the Move team performs thousands of eligibility assessments. We possess a level of experience and innovation that provides clients with the greatest confidence for achieving their transit goals. Since our inception, MTM has performed telephonic, in-person, and paper-based transportation assessments to determine appropriate mode assignment. On the Move was created based on our more than 20 years of experience ensuring passengers are assigned to the most appropriate, cost-effective mode of non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT).
With On the Move ADA eligibility assessments, the TriMet system in Portland, Oregon achieves an annual paratransit cost savings of more than $900,000.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) eligibility process should ensure that only truly eligible passengers are approved to use costly paratransit services. As opposed to other organizations that rely on paper-based processes, MTM’s in-person interviews and assessments provide impartial evaluations that eliminate a false positive for eligibility. All On the Move assessment processes remain in strict accordance with ADA paratransit regulations.
Special Needs Assessments
On the Move can also help school districts and special needs organizations encourage independence via public transit. In-person assessments assist caregivers and educators in determining if passengers have the ability to safely and effectively utilize public transportation for daily travel to school, work, and medical appointments.
General Mobility Assessments
General mobility assessments are available to any organization in need of eligibility determinations for transportation benefits, as well as those seeking to improve the overall independence of the populations they serve. For example, MTM’s NEMT clients rely on our in-person assessments to migrate passengers from sedan-level services to public transit as a means for cost containment.
The On the Move Assessment Process
With each type of assessment, our evaluations follow a comprehensive process to determine if a passenger can safely access public transit either with or without travel training. This process, outlined below, allows passengers to provide details about their travel skills and abilities while our evaluators use recognized assessment methods to make an accurate determination.
The assessment process begins when an evaluator reviews the passenger’s application for services. The application gives the evaluator background regarding the passenger’s physical and cognitive disabilities, as well as medical conditions, that may impact their ability to utilize public transit.
When the evaluator meets the passenger for their assessment, the interview allows the passenger to provide details regarding their own opinion of their travel skills and abilities. In addition to answering questions, the passenger can ask their own questions or express concerns about the process. During the interview, the assessor determines whether or not the passenger can safely participate in the functional assessment process.
During the assessment, MTM looks at two aspects of the passenger’s functional abilities—physical and cognitive. The physical functional assessment considers the passenger’s physical abilities to ride public transit. This assessment is conducted in the real transit environment, in the street and on buses, to ensure valid results. To fully evaluate a passenger’s cognitive abilities, our evaluators administer a FACTS test. This nationally recognized assessment is designed to assess the cognitive skills the candidate needs to utilize fixed route transportation.
At the conclusion of the assessment, the evaluator makes a recommendation regarding the level of service and mode of transportation the passenger requires based on their actual abilities.
Where appropriate, MTM refers passengers to travel training services to help them learn to utilize fixed route public transit independently. Our On the Move staff provides industry-leading travel training services to help our clients improve public transit utilization.
Why In Person?
While some competitors continue to use paper-based applications to make full eligibility determinations, MTM firmly believes in-person assessments provide our clients with a more thorough indication of passengers’ actual functional and cognitive abilities, as well as a higher degree of accuracy. In-person assessments also allow for interaction between the evaluator and passenger, giving the evaluator a full picture of the passenger’s needs. Many times, a passenger’s disability or medical diagnosis does not provide enough information to make a conclusive decision; therefore, in-person assessments leave less room for error, bias, fraud, and abuse.
For paratransit programs, an in-person assessment does have a higher initial cost than a paper-based assessment, but the cost is quickly exceeded by the savings derived from this accurate eligibility screening model. Moving a single, frequent user of paratransit services to fixed route public transit, for example, saves the transit agency thousands of dollars, with the savings accruing for as long as the passenger needs transportation services. Many agencies report hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings after a year of in-person assessments, which they are then able to use to enhance services.
Through the use of functional assessments, TriMet has greatly improved its ability to make more accurate eligibility determinations. Using an in-person process has also promoted better understanding of appropriate paratransit use within the community, including service agencies and organizations that promote paratransit to individuals with disabilities.
Kathy Miller, TriMet Manager of LIFT and Community Relations