JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Blunt has ordered the Department of Social Services to examine the death of 63-year-old Medicaid recipient, Willie Reed. Reed, a resident of Republic, died Tuesday, he was scheduled to receive non-emergency Medicaid transportation services to a doctor's appointment in St. Louis, but his ride did not pick him up. Gov. Blunt's spokesman, Spence Jackson said the state does not know if the ride was late, or if Reed was already dead.
"It's inappropriate to assert blame on anyone, we just need to try and find out what the facts are and just try to make the best decisions we can based upon those facts," Jackson said.
The state hired LogistiCare in May 2004 to manage the states non-emergency medical transportation program, the new services started on Saturday. On Monday the provider received more than 150 complaints from patients that never got picked up or were late for doctors appointments.
Ed Domansky, director of corporate communications for LogistiCare blames transportation subcontractors for the delays.
"Two vendors that backed out on us at the last minute under the previous broker had roughly 30 percent of the business, so when we lost that we had planned to have them in place and had rides scheduled and when we weren't able to follow through on that in the last minute it left us scrambling," Domansky said.
Oats, a transportation service subcontracted to provide services said LogistiCare knew the company wasn't ready to take patients.
"We were negotiating the contract, negotiating the terms of the contract as well as the pay rate for the contract," said Linda Yaeger, executive director of Oats.
Oats was supposed to pick up Reed the day he died, but Yaeger said the company wasn't given enough notice.
The Greene County coroner's office said Reed died of natural causes.
The Department of Social Services will investigate the incident and report its findings to the governor by the end of the month. The governor's office hasn't ruled out changing Medicaid transportation providers.
"Anything we need to do to prevent this from happening again, we're going to do," Jackson said.