Patients worry as Blue Cross switches rural ride service

  • Article by: Jennifer Brooks , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 5, 2014 - 9:59 PM

Medicaid patients worry they won’t be able to get to life-saving appointments.

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DufferHJan. 6, 14 1:34 AM

The people using these serves aren't in need of stretcher-bearing ambulances. Families members could transfer them in their own automobiles. Why does it always have to be the responsibility of someone else? The man complaining about all his time on the phone could have taken his relative to the clinic and back in the time he claims he spent trying to find a ride for her.

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elle2008Jan. 6, 14 4:35 AM

Just love when big money pushes their money to their friends. We end up with this!

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chuckdancerJan. 6, 14 6:51 AM

This is very expensive for the taxpayers and I believe very lucrative for operators. I believe the vast majority of people riding are able to ride easily in a passenger car; probably two out of three. There is no coordination of rides because the passengers are scattered and the appointments do not take transportation into account. Providers are selected based on personal relationships that inhibit competition. Without a radical makeover and control little change can be made and the cost unaltered. That will not happen because the power brokers make certain it doesn't happen. I believe this carries over into the metro area contracts with the same companies having literally monopoly status on a steady stream of taxpayer dollars and the owners enjoying that very much.

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texas_technomanJan. 6, 14 7:03 AM

I find it interesting that no where is there any documentation on what medicaid spends on transportation. Google it, you find nothing. I don't have a problem with medicaid paying for medical care...but taxi cab rides, etc? I think there is a boondoggle under this rock...and we are paying big time for it.

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reader2580Jan. 6, 14 8:11 AM

I believe you'll find that most medical transportation of this type is done with passenger vehicles such as minivans and sedans. Some is done with full size vans, but that would typically be for someone in a wheelchair. Why are taxpayers paying to haul someone from Moorhead to Minneapolis once a month for a medical appointment?

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wileyrulesJan. 6, 14 8:24 AM

I used my vehicle to transport my dad years ago. From the hospital to what was basically hospice. May he rest in peace. I think he appreciated that ride in my truck.

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jpcooperJan. 6, 14 8:40 AM

Is this what is meant when the phrase " access to Healthcare for the poor" is shouted?

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formergopJan. 6, 14 8:45 AM

I really think this is the patients responsibility. Before you live in the middle of no where you better think of things like this. They need to arrange their own transportation, or move closer.

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avejoeconJan. 6, 14 9:06 AM

the problem is that people are starting to believe what they are told. That NOTHING is the responsibility of the person or family. Someone else is responsible for your needs.

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ace7898Jan. 6, 14 9:56 AM

As a provider I can tell you that our services have not received a raise in reimbursement (ie: pay raise) in nearly 10 years. Not to mention that MTM cut the rate that it pays to companies up to 30%. Some of our drivers have told us they will not accept BCBS members because they lose money. MTM has very strict rules that many drivers are not going to abide by and therefore stop providing services. The people transported are some of the poorest, disabled and handicapped people of the state. Many have little or no income other than Social Security and do not drive because they either cannot due to health issues or cannot because they can't afford the costs associated with having a vehicle. I have been in this business for about 10 years and it is getting harder to keep drivers and employees. This industry is not a get rich quick deal. The companies and drivers are only paid for driving mileage not per hour. We receive no compensation for waiting time, miles driven to the clients home and back, when the client cancels at their door or the miles back home when a client is admitted to a facility. These folks are the poorest of the poor and many are immigrants. Many transportation providers have closed in the last year and this will soon be a crisis for Minnesota.

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