ATLANTA — We appreciate the Portland Press Herald’s call for “accountability” and quality in its April 30 editorial on MaineCare ride services (“Our View: MaineCare rides broker’s expanded reach demands closer scrutiny”).

At LogistiCare we are very proud of the high-quality services we provide to MaineCare recipients in York County.

We are also aware that during the transition, not all MaineCare recipients received the service they deserved and needed. We applaud the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts to fix the problems, and when that was not possible, to make a change in vendors.

As one of those new vendors, our contract requires that we have a high degree of accountability to provide a quality product. We welcome those benchmarks and plan to meet and even exceed them.

During the Press Herald’s reporting and subsequent editorial regarding LogistiCare, we believe that anecdote replaced fact. We would like to set the record straight regarding our performance to date and make clear that our mission is to serve MaineCare recipients to the highest standards.

The DHHS adopted the broker model in order to meet federal standards, provide increased services and eliminate conflicts of interest.

As a direct result, today LogistiCare provides more rides to medical care appointments than ever, allows for greater efficiency and removes reliance on a single transportation provider that often lacks the capacity and administrative processes to provide adequate coverage.

LogistiCare developed a network of local transportation providers to ensure we met MaineCare members’ needs. Today, we can proudly say more Mainers have access to health care – 191,974 trips in York County since August 2013.

That is nearly double what the previous vendor provided to MaineCare recipients. In other words, the ability of patients to get to their appointments has vastly improved.

Previously, when providers in York County and the state didn’t have adequate capacity, patients were forced to rearrange their schedules. Federal regulations say that is not okay. Thankfully, that’s not the case today. Patients can schedule their visits according to the availability of appointments at their medical provider and when it is convenient for them. And that’s the way it should be.

The broker system we manage also puts into place accountability, oversight and ways to track efficacy – features lacking in the previous system. We have accurate records of how long people wait to schedule rides, whether our drivers show up on time at the right place, and whether our clients feel they have been treated respectfully.

On all these marks, LogistiCare is greatly exceeding the contract standards. What’s more, we have gone beyond the standards to train our drivers so they can meet the individual needs of patients. And perhaps even more importantly, we have conducted criminal background checks and screened drivers’ records to do our best to make sure patients are safe. This may seem obvious, but it wasn’t done in the past.

While we strive to have no service deficiencies, we are not perfect. There will be service issues when thousands of riders are involved each day. When things don’t go according to plan, we take immediate action to fix the problem and put in procedures that prevent the issue from recurring.

At rollout in York County, ride demand was twice what the state estimated. Within 60 days, LogistiCare built and invested in a program to correct those deficiencies – at a cost of millions of dollars to our company. If the problem is that there is not a robust enough volunteer driving system, then we work with local businesses through our own investment to make it right.

The state’s decision to have us transport MaineCare riders in Aroostook County and the Portland, Lewiston and Down East regions is a testament to the quality service we provide York County members.

Of course there will continue to be unexpected challenges moving forward as we take on new regions of the state, but our commitment to MaineCare recipients is to make sure we identify those challenges and address them immediately. We always want to hear from members we transport, and they can contact Myra Orifice, general manager of Maine operations, at 877-659-1301, ext. 3501.

We’re proud to serve MaineCare members in York County, and look forward to helping members in new parts of the state. As we take this on, we look forward to a partnership with the state, MaineCare recipients and the public to provide a high degree of accountability and quality service.

— Special to the Press Herald