Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Another Privatization "Success" Story

For two years, all the non-emergency medical transports had to be channeled through one company - LogistiCare.  Previous to the contract with LogistiCare, each county was responsible for coordinating their own transports.

It soon became apparent that LogistiCare wasn't up to snuff and the complaints started pouring in, not just from customers but from vendors as well.   Eventually, LogistiCare had to give up their contract and this service was again put out for bids.  Another company has taken over the contract, at a cost higher than if the coordination had been left as it had been originally.

LogistiCare again made the news and again it is for failing to do their job properly:
But the state can get out of this arrangement at any time. And it should, clearing the way for the return of a system that doesn't leave patients on the curb when they should be getting the services they need to become and stay healthy.

Previously, local nonprofits both arranged and provided non-emergency rides to MaineCare patients. It was a setup that patients liked but that prompted questions from federal regulators, who said the same agency shouldn't be both setting up and giving rides.

The DHHS was given options to comply with federal regulations. According to a national Medicaid expert, the federal government would not have forced Maine to have regional coordinators arrange the rides. In fact, a local contractor won the ride contract for the Bangor area -- and riders there have had fewer problems.
MaineCare recipients in the rest of the state haven't been as lucky:
  • A mother in Old Orchard Beach said her 3-year-old son was dropped off at the wrong house after his day at a preschool for developmentally challenged children. (He eventually was brought home safely.)
  • A Winslow woman has found it difficult to secure transportation to the eye doctor, where she undergoes treatment to help preserve what's left of her vision.
  • Because of logistical issues, a woman from Kennebunkport has missed out on therapy intended to improve her brain's functioning.
  • A Skowhegan man with a degenerative disc disease has missed two medical appointments and been put on hold for hours trying to arrange rides.
Despite the fact that privatizing these services have made them much poorer and much more costly, the acolytes of austerity like Scott Walker and Chris Abele continue to promote privatization of these vital services.  That shouldn't surprise anyone since they are neither too bright or too honest.

What amazes me is that we keep electing these dopes.

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