Medicaid Non-emergency Transportation Stumbles During 2015 Transition
Patient transportation and a Native American peer-to-peer health project dominated Health Share’s Community Advisory Council’s October meeting.
The transition from TriMet to Access2Care, which offers rides for non-emergency medical visits, is experiencing some bumps in the road.
On Jan. 1, the Oregon Health Authority transferred responsibility for such services to the coordinated care organizations.
In the Portland metro area, TriMet’s Medical Transportation Program lost its contract with the state.
Health Share and Family Care contracted with Access2Care, affiliated with American Medical Response, to provide a new service called RideToCare.
But during the handoff, said council member Dr. Ryan Skelton, information about patient needs wasn’t transferred to Access2Care.
“I’m here to be a reminder about the importance of transportation,” said Skelton, who uses a wheelchair. “People I’ve spoken with are experiencing the wrong transportation to
meet the needs of their device, resulting in them being late and having to reschedule appointments. “
CEO Janet Meyer acknowledged that about 20 years of data, including such details as picking up the patient at their back door had been lost.
“The clients feel like, I’ve had this benefit for five years. Why don’t (the drivers) know this?” she asked.
Earlier, council members heard rumblings from drivers about late payments, underpayments or payment denials.
Loralee Trocio, a Health Share specialist for the transportation system, said there have been payment irregularities, because of late or incomplete paperwork from drivers confused about the requirements.
For patients, Trocio said, “I would encourage (riders) to report those instances” when service expectations aren’t met.
Native American health helpers
Future Generations Collaborative introduced two Native American moms who have trained as “natural helpers” to help reduce alcohol- or drug-exposed pregnancies among 15- to 24-year-old women.
“We brought a couple hundred community members together to talk about alcohol, violence and poverty. Young people attended and met as peers,” says Jillene Joseph, a partner with the collaborative, who said 75 peers bonded at a standing-room-only native poetry slam.
“We had a trauma-informed trust-building period, where we were looking at people and instead of saying, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ we say ‘What happened to you?’ “ Joseph added.
She said the answer to trauma is healing. She started with 18 elders and Natural Helpers, all of whom received training.
“I’ve really enjoyed all the training we received,” said Barbie Shields, a Natural Helper. “There’s so much I didn’t know about our history and about FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) babies. There’s so much we could be doing to help improve my community in Warm Springs.
“We help people find their voice,” said Joseph. “Empowerment? The power is already within us. What you’re seeing here is them shining.”
Clackamas County has launched a pilot program to prevent diabetes, which could expand to other counties.
“Diabetes isn’t inevitable,” said Sandra Clark, project director for community health strategies.
The first prevention training series began at Sunnyside Clinic Oct. 1.
Online health survey
Health Share is also participating in a community survey to help identify the important health issues and involve hospitals, county health departments and the CCOs.
To participate in the anonymous survey, visit www.healthycolumbiawillamette.org
The survey is open until Dec. 31, and available in English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese and Chinese.
Kendra Hogue is a Portland-based freelance writer. She can be reached at [email protected]