Dialysis Patients Without Transportation to Treatment

1 decade 2 years 6 months ago Tuesday, November 08 2005 Nov 8, 2005 Tuesday, November 08, 2005 4:53:18 PM CST November 08, 2005 in News

A new contractor took over transportation for Medicaid patients.  But, the problem was only temporary, but as the OATS Director says, it could have been life threatening.

"Without the trip to the dialysis clinic these folks could die," Director Linda Yaeger says.

"Without OATS I probably wouldn't be able to get here," Dialysis patient Linden Patrick says.

The risk and the worry come from cutbacks in state Medicaid. OATS is one of the Medicaid transportation services. It left 200 of the patients without a ride for two days as the state's new Medicaid rides contractor took control.

"Just making the change from doing the service in one way to doing it a different way is always confusing," Yaeger says

OATS says the tough transition happened because the new contractor, Logisticare, didn't have contracts with all providers. The state cut spending for the Medicaid rides from $40 million to $25 million.

"They're reducing their funding of the program at the same time transportation providers are experiencing increased costs," Yaeger says.

A state bureaucrat claims otherwise.

"It not only saves money for Missouri taxpayers but it also gives improved services to the recipients," State Commissioner Michael Keathley says.

"If they really did care, they wouldn't cut everything we have," Patrick says.

And Patrick says she'll worry about her rides as long as the state slashes Medicaid.  Transportation services for kidney dialysis patients is reportedly almost back to normal Tuesday night.

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