October 29, 2013

Maine lawmakers await progress report on MaineCare rides

Legislative leaders have remained mostly in the background as reports detail deeply flawed program.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, the ranking Republican on the committee, said she is awaiting Tuesday’s progress report. She said missed rides should be the exception, not the norm.

“There’s always going to be some transitional hiccups, but this certainly has been a nightmare for many folks who have been relying on these rides to either get to appointments or day programs,” she said. “Some who get to their day programs are not sure how they’re going to get home.”

Sanderson said she isn’t sure if the compliance barrier is too low for the brokers, but she said complaints shouldn’t be underreported.

“Personally, my tolerance threshold is that none of these folks should miss a ride, ever,” she said. “As far as holding the (DHHS) accountable, I don’t know until we hear back from the department (Tuesday).”

She added, “I am very anxious to hear the report-back to see if there’s any improvement. If there’s not, then I want to know what the department is going to do to make sure these folks get their rides.”

Farnsworth said the brokers and DHHS officials have been asked to attend the meeting. The department has been asked to provide copies of the contracts and steps it has taken to “make things right” for patients and their families who have not been served properly.

Martins, the DHHS spokesman, said the department was drafting its response Monday.

This story has been clarified to note that DHHS drafted the performance standards for the broker contracts.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:smistler@pressherald.comTwitter: @stevemistler
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