A recent NJ.com article about the unreliability of the Medicaid ride service LogistiCare inspired us to share our own experiences with LogistiCare and the car services with whom it contracts. For our own safety, we will be writing this post anonymously.
The article refers to a “patient survey” that found LogistiCare “unreliable.” “The Christie administration reviews bids from companies vying for a multi-million-dollar contract to coordinate transportation services for Medicaid clients. LogistiCare of Atlanta has held the contract since 2009, and is paid $ 165 million a year to provide 130,000 Medicaid clients more than 5 million rides to and from medical appointments.” New Jersey’s Medicaid clients are not being well served.
Though we don’t actually know anyone who was contacted regarding this survey, we thoroughly agree with its findings. It is evident that LogistiCare does not consider the safety of its clients to be an important issue. LogistiCare continues to use car services that have many serious complaints against them; the biggest offender being J & D Transportation. While it is generally the car services and their unsafe vehicles and/or drivers who are at fault, LogistiCare continues to turn a blind eye.
We have testimonies citing drivers Face Timing while driving, texting while driving and more. A few examples of negligence which have put our members at risk follow.
Member A (who is prone to heat stroke and seizures and takes medication with which prolonged exposure to the sun is not recommended) once stood in the sun waiting for her scheduled pick-up for over two hours past the pick-up time. When her ride finally arrived, the driver instructed her to sit in the running vehicle while he and his companion smoked cigarettes for twenty minutes. When Member A’s journey home finally began, it was slow going because the two men were ogling and shouting out to women walking by. It was an inappropriate and uncomfortable situation for her.
Member B has been taking rides with medical transportation before LogistiCare took over the outsourcing of the companies. Back then she only had J & D as a transportation provider. She’d hoped the situation would improve with LogistiCare being the head of them, but it hasn't. She’s still being picked up late— to and from her appointments. Sometimes the day before, she gets a call or message from them letting her know that they couldn't find a provider to transport her to her appointment. Fortunately this hasn’t been to an appointment where her doctor has had to charge her for a missed appointment.
Member B states, “That's just the tip of the iceberg… it can be worse.” Of the transportation providers, she is most often paired with J & D Transportation and feels they employ few drivers who are good—at driving or being civil. In her experience, their drivers talk (sometimes argue) and text on the phone while driving. She even had one driver (who is no longer employed with J & D) make derogatory remarks about her weight.
Member C actually liked her J & D Transportation driver, except that he zigzagged between cars at very high speeds on the Parkway. “It scared me: I was afraid we would get into an accident. After that, I used to pray we wouldn’t take the Parkway.”
In an incident unrelated to J & D Transportation, Member B’s driver was video chatting with someone. There were three lanes of traffic, two straight and a left turn lane. The driver was supposed to be in the left turn lane as per the GPS but, as his attention was elsewhere, he cut off other cars to get into the left turn lane instead of being safe and missing his turn.
“Seat belts? You need them with these drivers,” says Member B, “You take your life in your hands with some of them. Granted that there are some good ones out there, the companies that have them are ICare and MedEx. Otherwise, it’s passenger beware.”
Blog posts are written by Shore House members and staff.