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Auditors cite long list of problems with medical transportation service
Connecticut state auditors listed 59 recommendations in their audit of Veyo, a transportation service contracted by the Department of Social Services to provide Medicaid recipients with rides to and from non-emergency medical appointments.
The auditors found that on one occasion a couple was left waiting for five hours in a medical facility following chemotherapy treatment and, on two occasions, drivers transported children as young as seven years old alone and refused to allow the child’s parent to ride in the car.
Conversely, children over the age of 6 months are not allowed to travel with their parent or guardian if that adult is going to a doctor’s appointment. DSS says this is due to Medicaid restrictions and allowing the child to ride along would increase costs.
Veyo provides roughly 24,000 Medicaid recipients per month with rides to medical appointments, largely concentrated in the Hartford and New Haven areas, according to the auditors’ report. They help clients obtain either public transportation or Uber-style rides to medical appointments.
The state has a $140 million contract with the medical transportation company.
The auditors noted complaints of drivers smelling of marijuana, driving recklessly and leaving one blind, wheelchair-bound client alone in a lobby without being checked in to the medical facility. The drivers were not immediately removed from service, according to the report.
Some of the auditors’ findings pertained to the way in which Veyo measured and provided data, including how calls are handled and how complaints are recorded and addressed by the company.
In one instance, Veyo claimed a complaint was “unsubstantiated” when a Veyo vehicle was involved in an accident, the police were called, and the client was taken to the hospital.
The vast majority of client complaints were for missed or late pick-ups, which result in missed appointments.
In some instances, the clients are traveling for critical care appointments. In one instance cited by the auditors, the driver arrived 45 minutes late to transport a client to a transplant clinic and was driving erratically and texting.
The complaints lodged by clients can result in monetary “sanctions” against Veyo, but the auditors found that DSS did not issue sanctions for failure to meet performance standards.
DSS issued 44 sanctions totaling $24,500 since the beginning of the contract in January of 2018 through March 2019, but during that same time there were over 317,000 incidents that could be subject to sanctions.
DSS said it worried that such a massive amount of sanctions could frustrate the company and leave the department without a transportation provider. It should be noted the department is not required to sanction the company and reviews complaints to determine if a sanction is appropriate.
The auditors’ long list of recommendations included contractual changes between DSS and Veyo, updating policies on the transport of children and clients with critical medical needs, improved use of sanctions and improved investigation of complaints.
Veyo responded that it will work with DSS to ensure all reporting requirements are met accurately and will work to improve driver training and complaint call handling.
To date, Veyo has provided over 4 million rides for non-emergency medical treatment, according to the auditors’ report.
**This article was corrected to show that 24,000 Medicaid recipients receive rides per month and that two minors were transported without a guardian**
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