If I had to pick one word to sum up the relationship between LogistiCare and Missouri, it would be “pugilistic.” The punches were being thrown before they had the contract. They Sued over the bidding process, in fact.
Even though they prevailed, and are the current contract holder, the relationship remains contentious. The contractors who provide transportation services to elderly and disabled Medicaid patients who have no transportation are not happy, and neither are the patients. Consensus seems to be that LogistiCare doesn’t give a damn about the patients, nor about the contractors who provide the services. They care about pursuing the almighty dollar.
Yes, they submitted a lower fee-for-service bid than home-state company Medical Transportation Management, which submitted a flat-rate bid – but remember: You get what you pay for. It stands to reason that you are going to be able to lop off a significant amount of money if you stop transporting patients and tell them to take the bus.
The three year contract was awarded to LogistiCare L.L.C. of Atlanta in October of 2005 by the Blunt administration. The complaints by the contractors who were to provide the services started immediately. The drivers said the rates LogistiCare was paying were too low and threatened their livelihoods. The first investigation was underway before the first patient buckled their seatbelt.
A major battle in the PR war was lost by LogistiCare when a patient died waiting for a ride that never showed up.
Ever since, we have been inundated with LogistiCare horror stories, to the point that we start to tune them out. The needle on our “Unbelievameters” peg out and stick. And as we get disgusted and tune out, they go right on throwing hurdles and roadblocks in front of the challenged.
I received this email a couple of Sundays ago:
I read your blog on a daily basis. I’m a democrat stuck down in Fundieville (Springfield) as I call it here dead in the middle of the Ozarks. Ever since Boy Blunt took over in Jeff City and installed Logisticare to provide medicaid transportation I have fought with them every single month over transportation for my son, who has Cerebral Palsy, for transpo to and from his therapy appts here in town. Now they have struck again and want him to use public transpo to go to and from his appts and I will have to pay 3 bucks per time he goes to therapy. It’s not the money that really bothers me it’s the fact that they just don’t seem to give a rat’s ass about his care and all they want is the money they get from the state. I have contacted my local state rep and got nada help, but then again as you well know, they are all republicans so no help for the poor and sick. Is there someone I can contact outside of Logisticare to get some help with this problem? If I listed the whole litany of times I have had to fight with them over this, this email would go on for pages. Thanks for any help you may be able to give me.
This woman has continually fought a petty battle with LogistiCare about her son’s transportation. They will transport him from school, but they won’t pick her up at home to accompany him, even though she is vital to his therapy, and at the therapy sessions, she learns proper techniques and the best ways to help her child overcome the obstacles life has put in his path.
LogistiCare’s contract is up next year. I have had email exchanges with both transportation schedulers and with patients. Both claim that LogistiCare is a nightmare to deal with, and MTM was, at least by comparison, a breeze. MTM was local, and they were accountable.
When the bidding process renews, pointed questions need to be asked of LogistiCare. Those questions should not just come from politicians and state bureaucrats, either. Some of them should come from subcontracted drivers, and from patients, too. You know, the people whose lives are directly affected by their penny-pinching decisions.