I have great concerns about the future of non-emergency medical transportation, the well-being of our MaineCare recipients who use that service and the possible increase of taxes for all Maine residents if this transportation issue is not addressed.

Non-emergency transportation services have not been meeting the needs of grandmothers, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children and babies in Maine.

The state declined to renew the current Coordinated Transportation Solutions broker contract, as they were in the process of trying to manage the great demand on an insufficient budget.

The Health and Human Services Committee has recommended against passing L.D. 1636, a bill to revert to the original system of ride provision.

This important service that more than 45,000 Mainers rely on is in uncertainty with little accountability. As a social worker who has worked in Brunswick for the past 10 years, I find this uncertainty concerning.

I’m concerned that my clients will continue to be unable to receive the health care they need because the rides they were assured never show. If they are not receiving the preventative care they need, then there will be an increase of medical care costs and taxes for all Mainers. If they cannot get to the doctor, their conditions worsen and instead of a $10 ride, they end up needing a $1,000 ambulance ride to the hospital.

If non-emergency medical transportation is not top priority and allotted sufficient resources to allow a brokerage or local distribution company to operate adequately, it will be a lose-lose for all Mainers.

I believe that the problem with non-emergency transportation in Maine is not which model is used but that the resources are insufficient to meet the ever-growing demands. Please make transportation for our neighbors, family and friends a priority.

Mary Kunhardt

Brunswick