Former medical rides broker says rough transition wasn't its fault

The company that held the contract for scheduling Medicaid recipients' rides to doctor appointments for six years pushed back this week against claims that it failed to provide sufficient data about people's ride schedules to the new company that took over the contract Jan. 1.

The president of the new non-emergency medical transportation broker, a San Diego-based startup called Veyo, flew to Hartford last week to tell members of a state health oversight committee why the first two weeks of 2018 saw Medicaid recipients with no other form of transportation stranded at home or in doctor's offices without rides, or on the phone on hold with the company for more than an hour at a time.

Veyo President Josh Komenda told members of the Medical Assistance Program Oversight Council that information about rides booked through LogistiCare, the Department of Social Services' former transportation broker, was incomplete or inaccurate and that staff at Veyo's call center and overflow call centers outside of Connecticut received more calls in the first days of the contract than they had anticipated.

The claim that LogistiCare delivered insufficient or inaccurate data is untrue, said George Sousa, LogistiCare's Connecticut general manager.

"We have worked in a professional, collaborative and expeditious manner with DSS and Veyo for months to ensure the transition would be as seamless as possible and would not adversely impact members and other key stakeholders," Sousa said in a statement emailed Monday to The Day by a public relations firm.

"During the transition, we provided all of the required data to successfully manage the state's NEMT program," he added. "We provided Veyo accurate and current member files starting in November and continued to send them daily through January 5 ... The claim that we did not provide all of the information needed to successfully transition the NEMT program is categorically false."

On Wednesday, Komenda disputed that claim, and said again that LogistiCare provided out-of-date information about users' ride schedules and addresses that contributed to Veyo's rocky rollout.

DSS issued a request for proposals for a new subcontractor last year after passengers and health providers complained for years about late rides and shoddy service with LogistiCare.

LogistiCare and three other companies bid on the contract, and in June 2017 the state chose Veyo, the medical rides subsidiary of Arizona-based Total Transit Inc.

Komenda said Wednesday that wait times at the company's call center were "mostly in the single digits" of minutes and that the number of successful trips to doctor appointments is going up each day.

"I know there are still people experiencing problems this week, but we anticipate things will continue to improve," he said.

James Vincent-Czbas, one of many people who missed crucial doctor appointments and spent hours on hold in the first week of Veyo's contract with the state, said he successfully booked a ride with Veyo on Friday and planned to book more rides for medical appointments in February.

But he said when he first called to start scheduling rides with Veyo for January, the employee at the call center did not have access to any of his records, vehicle preferences or previously booked rides.

"It was like two different worlds," he said. "You wait on line to get through, and then the lady has no information in front of her."


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