Plan to end non-emer­gency Med­i­caid trans­porta­tion is penny-wise, pound-fool­ish

Modern Healthcare - - Comment | Letters -

Re­gard­ing the Nov. 26 Guest Ex­pert col­umn “End­ing non-emer­gency rides to care for Med­i­caid pa­tients would be counter-pro­duc­tive”

(p. 35), in­di­vid­u­als who have al­ways had ac­cess to trans­porta­tion lack un­der­stand­ing of what it is like to not have it. Many of us can’t even walk five miles on a tread­mill, and yet this pol­icy pro­posal sug­gests that the chil­dren and ail­ing adults, those par­tic­i­pat­ing in Med­i­caid, shouldn’t have a prob­lem ob­tain­ing their own trans­porta­tion to keep med­i­cal ap­point­ments.

Shame, shame on be­ing pen­ny­wise and pound-fool­ish.

The low-in­come con­di­tion of many in­di­vid­u­als puts them at a dis­ad­van­tage of be­ing de­nied what we so often take for granted. Walk­ing for ex­er­cise is one thing; walk­ing to see the doc­tor or for out­pa­tient care is far dif­fer­ent. The use of Uber or Lyft re­quires a credit card for pay­ment. Buses in some ar­eas can be few in num­ber and bus stops can be far apart. What do you do when deal­ing with wind, rain, snow or sun, with two or three small chil­dren in tow? What if your car breaks down, or you can’t af­ford gas or in­sur­ance for pro­tec­tion? These are only a few things that im­pede in­di­vid­u­als when it comes to trans­porta­tion.

If we are go­ing to as­sist the less for­tu­nate, then let’s do it right, or at least bet­ter than we have in the past. Let’s take a walk in their shoes be­fore mak­ing dra­matic agency changes re­gard­ing non-emer­gency trans­porta­tion for Med­i­caid re­cip­i­ents.

Bar­bara Wil­lis CEO Portsmouth (Va.) Com­mu­nity Health Cen­ter

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