Taxpayer-funded cab rides draw 100s of complaints

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Joseph Luciano used to play piano in New York City’s jazz clubs. Now, after a stroke took the use of his hand and restricted him to a wheelchair, he stays mostly in his apartment.

“This is my refuge,” said Luciano.

For all of his doctor and dentist appointments, Luciano relies on medical taxis to get there and back. The problem is, those taxis sometimes don’t show up.

“I’m actually surprised if they do show up,” said Luciano.

Luciano showed the News8 Investigators a list of more than 30 written complaints submitted to the state and to Logisticare. The Connecticut Department of Social Services has a $1.9 million contract with a company called Logisticare. They work with 61 different companies to coordinate taxi rides to and from medical appointments. According to records provided by the state, they coordinate rides for an estimated 25,000 patients every month.

And in that same month, there are hundreds of complaints filed with Logisticare, however only a small fraction of them are considered “valid” by Logisticare.

Leeanne Ziebel has complained. Her son Benjamin has medical appointments in downtown New Haven.

“He has missed 5 of his last 7 appointments,” claimed Ziebel.

There was a complaint made by James McKenney, who told Logisticare that his 91 year old mother Margaret was left out in the cold for hours waiting for a taxi.

“”If anything happens to her, whatever money they’re saving by using this company, they’re going to lose in lawsuits,” said McKinney.

“We’re not pleased about it, said DSS Medical Director Robert Zavoski. “Out of 1 million rides, 400 is a small number.”

Zavoski points to the total number of numbers provided by Logisticare, which show 936,889 rides were given between January and March 2014. In that same time period, they reported only 367 “valid” complaints.

“Can we do better? Absolutely,” said Zavoski.

Since the state hired Logisticare, there have been what spokesman David Dearborn called “implementation issues.” They are currently in “corrective action mode” with Logisticare, meeting every month with ambulance, taxi and livery companies focusing on performance issues.

According to Dearborn, the state does not compile any of its own statistics about performance issues, but instead relies solely on Logisticare’s numbers.

In the meantime, folks like Luciano say they will continue to complain when the service isn’t right.

“I’m at thorn in the side of a lot of people,” said Luciano.

Scroll down for the list of companies that provide transportation for Medicaid patients.

Below are some of the “performance indicators” and other data used to judge the performance by LogistiCare, the company that coordinates all of the medical taxi rides in the state.

According to their records, there are more than 25,000 unique riders every month. Their contract with the state was worth $1.9 million in 2013. The table below shows the rules that LogistiCare lays out to complete the medical trips.

Task Required Timeframe
Scheduled Trips: Pickup Members on time Within 15 minutes before or after the scheduled pickup time
Will Calls: Pickup Members after appointments Within 60 minutes of notification
Hospital Discharges: Pickup Within 3 hours of request

 

Below are the number of trips that LogistiCare schedules every three months, the number of complaints LogistiCare receives, and the number of complaints LogistiCare considers “valid”.

Q4 2013 Provider Grievances Q1 2014 Provider Grievances to Date
Total # of Trips Performed 1,080,862 Total # of Trips Performed (January 1st thru March 20th) 936,889
Total Grievances Received 836 Total Grievances Received 728
Total Valid Grievances Received 356 Total Valid Grievances Received 367
Complaint Free Trips Performed 99.97% Complaint Free Trips Performed 99.96%

 

The following companies provide transportation for Medicaid patients:

5 Diamond Limo

A&A Transportation

Access Ambulance

Ace Taxi

Acme Transportation

Aetna Ambulance

All Transportation

Allied Transportation Services

Alternative Transportation

Ambassador Transportation

Ambulance Service of Manchester (ASM)

American Ambulance Services

American Chair Car Service

American Medical Response (AMR)

Anytime Limousine

Bethel Ambulette

Bristol Hospital EMS

Campion Ambulance Service

Comfort Care Transportation

CT Handi-Van

CT Livery LLC

CT Taxi LLC

Curtin Waterbury

D&R Transportation

Danbury Ambulance

Elderly Freedom

Essex Limo

Executive 2000

Googe Wheelchair

Harry’s Livery

Hartford Livery and Limousine

Hunter’s Ambulance

Leila Transportation

Lina Medical Transportation

Maffei’s Taxi

Managed Transportation Services

Med- X

Metro Cab Shooter

Metro Taxi

Metro Wheelchair

Metropolitan Livery

Milford Transit

My Taxi

Nelson Ambulance

Norwich Taxi

Olsen Shoreline Transportation

On Time Limo

Park City Livery

Patriot Taxi

People’s Transit

Red & White Taxi

Royal RS Inc.

SCHS D.B.A. Lina Tran

Simon Transportation

Sky Transportation

SMOOTHLINE LIMOUSINE  & TRANSPORTATION

Suburban Livery

Suburban Transportation dba Valley Cab

Supreme Limousine LLC

Valley Cab and Livery

Valley Transit District

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