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Governor's Office Says Delays in Medicaid Transportation Were Expected

November 8, 2005
By: Tim Walker
State Capital Bureau

A Missouri state representative says the Department of Social Services needs to fix delays in the Medicaid transportation system.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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State Representative Jeff Harris, a Democrat from Columbia, says he is not happy with delays in Missouri's Medicaid transportation program that caused some people to miss their dialysis appointments.

LogistiCare, the company contracted to transport patients to their medical appointments, lacked sufficient vans to transport patients on time.

Harris says the state should have anticipated the problem.

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"I hope that in the future the governor takes a more proactive role, and his department of social services takes a more proactive role, anticipates what problems may occur, correct and address those problems even before they occur because that's what we expect as taxpayers."

The Department of Social services director did not comment, but a spokeswoman for the Department says she expected the delays.

From the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker

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The Governor's office blames a new contract for delaying Medicaid transportation.

Tim Walker has more from the state Capital.

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The state hired a new company to take Medicaid patients to their medical appointments. Recent delays caused some patients to miss dialysis appointments. Governor Matt Blunt's spokesman, Spence Jackson, says he thinks the problems are temporary.

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"Any time you have a major shift over like this, in terms of a provider you're going to have these sort of logistical issues that need to be worked out."

Representative Jeff Harris, a Democrat from Columbia, says he thinks Medicaid patients deserve better care.

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"The Governor and the Department of Social Services need to be anticipating problems, addressing those problems before they occur, that's what leadership is all about."

The transportation provider has received more than 150 complaints since Monday.

From the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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The Department of Social Services says it expected delays with the state's new Medicaid transportation system.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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Monday was the first day LogistiCare Solutions handled the state's non-emergancy Medicaid transportation, which includes transporting patients to dialysis appointments.

Deborah Scott, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Social Services says unfinished contract negotiations caused people to wait longer for rides.

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"I think that transitional issues when you're making a change between a provider that's providing this large a service are to be expected."

Scott says the Department is working with the provider and she expects the problem will be solved soon.

The Director of the Department of Social Services was not available for comment.

From the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.