St. Petersburg, Fla (WFLA) – What should be a simple trip to the doctor has, for some Medicaid patients turned into all day, exhausting, exasperating, experiences.
Rides that taxpayers pay for, show up late.
Many are forced to cancel important medical appointments because their transportation never came.
State Senator Jeff Brandes (R) St. Petersburg wants change.
“It’s unacceptable for people to be waiting for hours and hours after treatment, before treatment or missing treatments because the drivers never showed up,” Senator Brandes said.
Johanna Spaninato of New Port Richey claims that on at least 8 occasions, she’s had to cancel medical appointments or treatment because transportation showed up late or not at all.
The state hired a company called LogistiCare to book and assign transportation for Medicaid clients.
LogistiCare claims it has a network of almost 300 transportation providers in Florida with more than 4,000 vehicles.
Johanna Spaninato has no knee in her right leg, so she can’t step up into vans or other high riding vehicles. She needs a sedan.
Johanna contends LogistiCare continues to send the wrong trype of vehicle for her transportation.
“They can’t do their job, replace them,” Johanna stated emphatically.
Diana Luczynski’s chemotherapy takes hours. When finished she just wants to go home.
“I have to wait each time longer and longer,” Diana said.
According to Jessica Januszka, her 27 year old autistic son Thomas waits too long for his LogistiCare rides, too often.
“You’re depending on someone and they just don’t show,” Jessica explained.
“It’s unacceptable for people to be waiting for hours and hours after treatment, before treatment, or missing treatments because the drivers never showed up,” Senator Brandes said.
Senator Brandes knows Medicaid transportation is a problem statewide.
“It should never be ok for people to miss doctors appointments because we can’t get them a ride,” Senator Brandes added.
Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration encourages anyone with a Medicaid complaint to call the Medicaid Help Line 1-877-254-1055
You can also submit a complaint online by filling out a form located at http://ahca.myflorida.com/Medicaid/complaints/.
During the last legislative session, Senator Brandes introduced a bill to provide more options for Medicaid patients.
“This year we tried to put and allow for Uber and Lyft to do some more of the Medicaid transport, because we think that’s a great solution for many people,” Senator Brandes explained.
According to LogistiCare, it is a strong proponent of providing “Floridians with as many non-emergency medical transportation options as possible. In fact, we currently partner with Lyft for many member trips. However, to our understanding, Lyft and Uber do not have the capacity for wheelchair and higher levels of service to accommodate more medically fragile patients. They do not provide any specialized training to their drivers for Medicaid transportation and the specialized needs of Medicaid patients; therefore, they are not panaceas for all such transports.”
Senator Brandes’ bill never made it to the floor for a vote.
He will try again this year.
“If Florida can put a man on the moon it should be able to pick people u p to get to their doctor appointments,” Senator Brandes said.
According to LogistICare, every member and ride matters and it takes every complaint seriously.
If you want to reach the company, its corporate number is 404-888-5800 or go online to http://www.logisticare.com/contact-us/
If you now of something that you think should be investigated call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1-800-338-0808.
Contact Steve Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org