Representatives from Employment and Training Inc., or Huntingdon County CareerLink, presented the Huntingdon County Commissioners with a yearly report on the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP) during their weekly meeting Tuesday.

Michelle Heane, MATP director, said services continued throughout 2020, despite the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were able to continue our services, especially for those with out-of-town trips, especially those going to dialysis and cancer treatment,” she said. “Our staff has worked diligently to provide transportation for our consumers.”

Out of 4,754 people who have inquired about MATP services, 1,919 people are registered, and there are 531 people who have disabilities, said Heane.

“We continue to accept those with disabilities between the ages of 18-59, but they have to have a documented disability,” she said. “This allows consumers to travel to grocery stores, pharmacies and other places that don’t accept a medical card, but they can get groceries and other things for a minimal fare.”

Heane noted the program is provided through Huntingdon-Bedford-Fulton Area Agency on Aging throughout the county on a daily basis and as scheduled in surrounding counties.

“We continue to be reimbursed 25 cents per mile,” she said.

Barbara Covert, executive director of Huntingdon County CareerLink, thanked the commissioners for allowing them to be able to continue this service for the county.

“I also want to publicly recognize Michelle and her team for what they did to assure services would continue during this pandemic,” she said. “They’ve been able to work with all of our providers, and we’ve had no canceled trips.”

The commissioners also approved the certification of county funds for the state’s Farmland Preservation Program for $50,977.

James Lettiere, county planning director, explained the funding sources for this program.

“About $1,977 is derived from interest on the clean and green rollback, $5,000 is from the county through Act 13 funds, and the remainder, $44,000 would be contributions from municipalities that participate,” he said.

Celina Seftas, executive director of the Huntingdon County Conservation District, explained this fund certification will allow them to purchase future farmland easements and will provide the information of how much is available to the state office.

Three conflict counsel contracts were approved for the Huntingdon County Public Defender’s office, including one for Lance Marshall for up to 100 cases for 2021. He will be compensated at $40,000 or $3,330 per month.

Another one was for Timothy Burns for up to 100 cases for 2021. He will be compensated at $40,000 or $3,330 per month.

The last one was for BMZ Law of Huntingdon for up to 50 cases for 2021. They will be compensated at $20,000 or $1,666 per month.

Former commissioner and Penn Township resident R. Dean Fluke asked if they will keep track of how many cases each conflict counsel receives, and public defender Fred Gutshall said a monthly report is given to the commissioners showing many cases each conflict counselor has handled.

Kylie can be reached at khawn@huntingdondailynews.com.

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