Evolving Crisis for Wisconsin Elderly and Disabled: Audit Committee Investigation
Through our democratic processes, we Wisconsinites provided oversight to protect our most vulnerable citizens when they needed to be protected the most. But, the current administration is removing that oversight, and we are seeing the consequences.
By outsourcing more and more services to private companies, the state is causing a plethora of problems, while select private companies make big profits.
For example, by outsourcing the transportation of low-income elderly, veterans, and disabled citizens to their Medicaid appointments, the state has literally left many of them out in the cold (see: Where’s My Ride? Audit Committee Approves Full Review of Medicaid Transportation By Senator Kathleen Vinehout). After learning of many complaints, the state Audit Committee is now investigating.
The problem started in 2011 when the state shifted from a county-based volunteer system that met the needs of Medicaid recipients to a privatized system. In 2013, the state contracted with a company in St. Louis, Medical Transportation Management, to act as a broker for various transportation companies across Wisconsin.
Many citizens have pointed out problems with this new system. One person testified that the broker is “pocketing the money while thousands of BadgerCare members fail to get to their doctor appointments.” And, if they don’t show up for those appointments, they may then lose their Medicaid benefits.
Patrick Ryan of the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “The entity that benefits from that is the broker by shedding service, downgrading service, providing obstacles for patients to get to transportation and putting hurdles in the way of transportation providers to get paid for the services they provide.”
The broker pockets more money the fewer services it provides, while Wisconsin citizens are left with few alternatives.
Since they need to know how many Wisconsin citizens have been deprived of these important services, the Legislative Audit Committee has issued a call to all who have faced difficulties in getting transportation to Medicaid appointments:
By providing this information, you can help auditors get to the bottom of the problem.
Have you or someone you love asked, “Where’s my ride?” If so, call the Legislative Audit Bureau’s Waste, Fraud and Mismanagement Hotline at 1-877-372-8317.