In December, despite promises by the state,those problems and more persist. Today, more than 50 people who rely on the program called for results.
It’s been six months since Indiana contracted transportation company “South East Trans” with the plan to give easy non-emergency transportation to medicaid patients.
“They’ll call you an hour and a half before to say they don’t have any rides for you, they don’t show up, and then they hang up on you” said caregiver Pam Byers.
Caregivers stood up and told stories about their loved ones waiting for hours to get picked up, sometimes resulting in missed appointments.
Both the ride providers and the state say there are not enough drivers or vehicles to accommodate the need,but they disagree on a solution.
“I think the state has the people, has the knowledge to try and fix it. if they will do so in a timely manner” said State Senator Vaneta Becker.
The FSSA says state regulations, like felony records, disqualify some drivers and higher inspection standards limits which vehicles can be used. Ride providers say those regulations and standards are too strict.
“They need to be involving the people that are here today, the long term care association, the transportation providers themselves. you know, if we don’t get this fixed, we can try legislatively in the next session of the general assembly to try and get something done” said State Senator Vaneta Becker.
Either way, patients, lawmakers and the FSSA agree that there needs to be more work on a solution.
The communications director for the FSSA gave us a statement, “As with any change, adoption takes time. Especially a change like this one where an increase in demand coincides with increased safety standards” said Jim Gavin.