August 19, 2013

MaineCare ride complaint reports fail to add up

The state is reviewing the low figures by companies running the system.

By Joe Lawlor jlawlor@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Pamela Tardiff cries while telling of her frustrations with the new ride scheduling system Friday in Augusta. Tardiff uses an electric-powered wheelchair and has had trouble getting rides to doctor’s appointments.

Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

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Previously, local nonprofit agencies coordinated and provided rides for MaineCare patients with few problems, many patients have said. A local agency, Penquis, still brokers and provides rides in the Bangor area.

Mayhew did not give the two contractors votes of confidence when asked whether she believed LogistiCare and CTS could fix the problems.

"Our focus is to evaluate whether these companies have the ability to address these concerns expeditiously," Mayhew said. "I have confidence that we will hold them accountable."

Members of the Legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee criticized the revamped MaineCare non-emergency ride service last week, saying numerous missed rides to doctor's appointments and other medical services require immediate solutions.

"We're all getting calls, and they've been really heartbreaking calls," said Rep. Margaret Rotundo, D-Lewiston, House chairwoman of the committee. "This is clearly a huge problem that needs to be fixed quickly."

Pamela Tardiff of Augusta is one of the unhappy customers. Tardiff said she's paralyzed and has missed two doctor's appointments that she says are needed to help evaluate her condition.

"I was on hold for three hours and 12 minutes," Tardiff said. "I can't even get through to make an appointment."

She said it's so bad, she's worried that when someone does finally show up, it will be with a car rather than a lift van that she needs for transportation.

"You can't take this (heavy) electric chair, fold it up and put it in the back seat," Tardiff said. 

Joe Lawlor can be contacted at 791-6376 or at:

jlawlor@pressherald.com and at

Twitter: @joelawlorph

 

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