Nursing Home, wheelchair

In the six weeks since Rhode Island switched to a new Medicaid transportation provider, nursing home advocates said every day has put residents at life-threatening risk.

“Someone is going to die,” former state senator John Tassoni Jr. said at a recent hearing, according to the Providence Journal.

Rhode Island first moved from LogistiCare to Missouri-based Medical Transportation Management Jan. 1. That switch has been a bumpy ride, literally and figuratively, with a flood of missed appointments, delays and other problems, according to those who testified at a state committee meeting last Thursday.

More than 1,000 complaints have been filed, with many patients missing scheduled chemotherapy, dialysis, methadone treatment or doctor visits. Some local nursing homes leaders have transported residents using personal vehicles.

Frankly, at this point it’s become a fiasco,” said Christopher Ryan, owner and administrator of the 71-bed Pine Grove Health Center nursing facility in Pascoag, RI. “At what point does this end?”

Tassoni, who is now an executive with the Mental Health Leadership Council of Rhode Island, called Medical Transportation Management’s short tenure “38 days of hell.”

In a statement submitted to the committee, the head of MTM apologized and committed to working on the issue, noting that the company is bringing new technology to Rhode Island, and the changeover has proved challenging. The company came under fire in Arkansas for a similar string of missed appointments, McKnight’s reported in January.