Nez-Lizer Authorizes Open Enrollment for Navajo Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Providers

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez meeting with small Navajo-owned non-emergency
medical transportation providers on Sept. 16, 2019 in Window Rock, Ariz.

Published September 24, 2019

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer announced last Wednesday that the Navajo Department of Health (NDOH) is accepting new and renewal applications for year 2020 in the Navajo Nation Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) program until Dec. 2, 2019, 5:00 p.m. (MST), for non-emergency medical transportation service providers within the Navajo Nation. The new NEMT permits for calendar year 2020 will be issued Jan. 1, 2020 and surrounding states will be notified.

On Monday, small Navajo-owned NEMT service providers met with the Office of the President and Vice President to share concerns regarding the implementation of the NDOH NEMT regulations. The Navajo-owned NEMT did not have an NDOH permit to provide NEMT services within the Navajo Nation, and the companies stated they were denied payment from Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) for providing unpermitted NEMT services.

On Aug. 19, NDOH Executive Director Dr. Jill Jim issued a memorandum to AHCCS, listing 35 NEMT providers who met NDOH NEMT program requirements and who are authorized to provide NEMT services within the Navajo Nation, pursuant to the Navajo Nation NEMT regulations, enacted in June 2018 by the Navajo Nation Council. Each of the 35 NEMT providers submitted an application to the NNDOH within the application deadline and received a NEMT permit to operate on the Nation.

The regulations are implemented to protect Navajo people who utilize NEMT services for medical appointments on and off the Navajo Nation. The regulations require NEMT companies to have insurance, vehicle registration, vehicle safety inspections, Navajo business certificates, safe driving records, vehicle maintenance programs, first aide and CPR certification, and comply with HIPAA to protect Navajo client confidentiality, and among other requirements.

“We heard the concerns of the small Navajo-owned non-emergency medical transportation providers who did not make the listing. The providers expressed the fear of closing their small businesses and the loss of long patient-client relationships,” said President Nez. “Most importantly, the Nez-Lizer Administration supports all small Navajo-owned businesses and we cannot create unreasonable barriers for them to lose their businesses, therefore, we have ensured an open enrollment period to give the small Navajo-owned businesses another opportunity to comply with the NEMT regulations.”

“We want to ensure that these businesses are certified and have met the NDOH program requirement to provide safe and insured NEMT services.  The safety of our Navajo people who use this service is critical,” added President Nez. “The winners in all of this are the clients who use these services. They will have more options to select from when it comes to non-emergency medical transportation services.”

The Navajo Nation NEMT regulations states that all NEMT companies providing services to clients residing on the Navajo Nation must apply for a permit from the Navajo Department of Health.

“The small Navajo-owned non-emergency medical transportation companies should have the same opportunity to deliver quality, comprehensive, and culturally relevant health care services on the Navajo Nation. On behalf of the Administration, we will continue to provide support and resources for Navajo entrepreneurs and protect the safety of Navajo people who rely on these businesses,” said Vice President Lizer.

For more information regarding the open enrollment of the Navajo Nation Non-Emergency Medical Transportation application and other related questions contact the Navajo Department of Health at (928) 871-6350, email nemt.regulatory@nndoh.orgor visit  Contact the Navajo Nation Business Regulatory Department for business related information at (928) 871-6718/6714.

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