Medicaid transportation firm fined for long wait-times for pick-ups

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CtMirror.org

A vehicle with Veyo drops off a client at a UConn Health satellite branch in West Hartford.

Veyo, Connecticut’s non-emergency medical transportation contractor, has been fined $4,000 for having Medicaid patients waiting over an hour for pick-ups, or not showing up at all.

The state Department of Social Services sent Veyo four letters in May and June detailing the fines.

According to the letters, if a Medicaid patient is waiting over an hour for a pick-up, the department will impose a sanction of $500, not to exceed $10,000 per month.

Veyo violated this part of the contract on eight occasions where either the client waited over an hour — in one case, three hours — or transportation didn’t show up at all. This happened four times.

Veyo was also fined $1,000 in February, after an immunocompromised patient was transported with others in the vehicle, when he or she wasn’t supposed to be.

San-Diego based Veyo started running the state’s non-emergency medical transportation program in January. In its first few weeks, many residents had to wait hours on hold when calling for rides; missed or were late to critical medical appointments, like dialysis, chemotherapy and mental health treatment; or were stranded at medical facilities when return rides didn’t arrive.

Veyo President Josh Komenda has said the company’s performance has improved since then, but the company still remains the subject of a myriad of complaints, including reports that patients are waiting long periods for transportation, evidenced in the sanction letters.

“We do over 300,000 trips per month and we provide a benefit to 800,000 residents in Connecticut,” said Komenda on Wednesday. “At the end of the day, in that kind of volume, it’s near impossible to be defect-free … and the state understands that.

“Our goal is always to try to make things better,” he said. “We investigate every complaint that comes in … I get concerned when there’s systemic issues, which we don’t believe there are and there’s no evidence of.”  

CT-N / Mirror file photo

Veyo President Josh Komenda

Veyo was hired last year to arrange and oversee about five million rides annually. The company works with a myriad of private transportation companies, including taxis and ambulances, to provide the rides. It also hires private contractors, individual drivers, to provide transportation.

Non-emergency medical transportation “is a difficult service to administer and deliver – it was during the prior statewide contract, and it was before that, when we had multiple, regional contractors,” said DSS spokesman David Dearborn. “We’ve seen some overall improvement with Veyo/Total Transit over the six months of their tenure, and we’ve also seen some continuing problems, as indicated by the sanction letters.

“We want them to succeed to the greatest extent possible; expectations are high and Veyo’s management has assured DSS that it is fully on board with doing everything they can to meet them,” Dearborn said.

 

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