Friday, November 11, 2005

Blunt wants answers after man dies waiting for Medicaid ride

Source: KCS
Credit: The Associated Press
Friday, November 11, 2005

By David A. Lieb

JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Matt Blunt on Thursday ordered a review of Medicaid transportation procedures after the death of a southwest Missouri man.

Willie Reed, 63, was found dead Tuesday evening at his home in Republic. The kidney-transplant patient was supposed to have been picked up early that morning by a state Medicaid transportation provider to meet with doctors at a St. Louis hospital.

The ride apparently never showed up.

A friend, Agnes Hayward, found Reed dead near his front door with his packed bags, Springfield television station KOLR reported Wednesday. Republic police investigators think Reed died before his scheduled 4 a.m. pickup by OATS Southwest, the TV station reported. But that is under review.

"We want to find out exactly the timeline of events in terms of when he requested a ride, when the service provider was notified he needed a ride, why he wasn't given a ride and what kind of procedures LogistiCare is using to notify its subcontractors when a ride is needed," Blunt spokesman Spence Jackson said.

Atlanta-based LogistiCare Solutions LLC took over the state's $25.6 million contract for nonemergency Medicaid transportation services Saturday. But it had trouble negotiating arrangements with some of the subcontractors who previously worked with Lake St. Louis-based Medical Transportation Management Inc.

Tuesday was supposed to be the first day OATS Inc. was providing service under the new LogistiCare contract.

Department of Social Services spokeswoman Deborah Scott said LogistiCare had received a request to provide Reed a ride and had referred it to OATS by fax and e-mail. But she said the department knew little beyond that.

The Springfield OATS office referred questions to its Columbia office, and the executive director there did not immediately return a telephone call Thursday.

LogistiCare spokesman Ed Domansky said it was unclear what, if any, connection existed between Reed's death and his missed ride.

"LogistiCare is cooperating with the state in its investigation of this unfortunate incident," Domansky said.

Blunt said he expects a report from the Department of Social Services by the end of the month, which will probably include information from the local medical examiner's office, a timeline of events, details of the contractor's responsibilities, and recommendations.

"My heartfelt sympathies go out to Willie Reed's family and friends," Blunt said in a written statement. "I understand they want answers, and so do I."

First glance

A Republic, Mo., man who was a kidney-transplant patient died while waiting for a Medicaid ride to a St. Louis hospital.

A new Missouri Medicaid transportation provider took over Saturday. It had trouble making arrangements with some subcontractors who had worked with the previous provider.

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