Florida Patients Stranded By State-Contracted Ride Service – WUSF News
Imagine being stranded without a ride to the doctor or arriving hours late to medical appointments that your life literally depends on. Those are Florida patients’ most common grievances with a company the state pays to arrange medical transportation for people with disabilities.
Listen to the story airing on 89.9 WJCT-FM
Kathryn Grace has lived in Jacksonville’s Arlington neighborhood for more than 50 of her 76 years. She put herself through nursing school while raising a family and worked several jobs until two decades ago. Her life changed suddenly when someone ran a stop sign and slammed into her car, leaving her, for a long time, unable to walk.
“I’ve been getting a little bit better — a little bit better — and now I can walk around my home some,” she said.
To go any farther, she uses a large, motorized wheelchair. And she relies on a transportation service called LogistiCare to get to her many doctor and physical therapy appointments.
“I have a right to this service. It’s paid for by my Medicaid, and I should not be treated like this,” she said. “In fact, I think it’s illegal to abuse elderly people, and I definitely felt abused.”
Atlanta-based Logisticare doesn’t directly employ drivers. It coordinates and manages subcontracted transportation services — from taxis to ambulances — depending on patients’ needs.
Grace said after one dentist visit this summer, she was waiting at a closed shopping center after dark, when a LogistiCare representative told her by phone that no more rides were available that night.
“After it got pitch-black dark around 10:30 or whatever, I pushed the panic button on my phone — you know, the one where you say, ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’? — and they called the