Kane In Your Corner: LogistiCare apologizes for stranded patients

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New Jersey Medicaid transportation contractor LogistiCare is offering an apology to patients who were left stranded at doctors’ offices, or who missed appointments because of rides that did not arrive or came late. The apology comes after a Kane In Your Corner investigation, which aired Monday.

“Clearly there are some people who have not had a positive experience with LogistiCare and for that we apologize,” Lori Bonderowitz, general manager of LogistiCare New Jersey, wrote in posts on the Kane In Your Corner Facebook page and News 12 New Jersey website. 

LogistiCare boasts an official complaint rate of under 1 percent. As Kane In Your Corner reported, many patients and health care advocates question those numbers. A 2016 survey found 36 percent of patients said they “filed or tried to file a complaint.” And a 2014 confidential audit in Connecticut found LogistiCare might be “systemically underreporting” complaints there.

Bonderowitz insists the company never misrepresents complaints in New Jersey. She attributes the large volume of reported problems to LogistiCare’s caseload. “With 7.5 million rides each year, even if 1 percent of the trips don’t go as planned, there will be service issues with approximately 6,000 trips per month,” she says. LogistiCare spokesperson Melissa Speir insists the company has surveys showing “98 percent of riders confirmed overall satisfaction”.

But in the wake of Monday’s investigation, dozens more people who have dealt with LogistiCare as patients or health care employees have come forward, to share stories of chronic problems. Many suggest the issues are far more prevalent than the company’s numbers indicate.

Teddy, a News 12 New Jersey viewer, says: “I had six people with me in a minivan (dispatched by LogistiCare). We were jammed in there. We got to talking. Every one of us, multiple times, have been left, picked up hours and hours late, never picked up.”

Jason adds: “There’s been many, many, many incidents that they’ve left me stranded. This year. Last year.”

On Facebook, Crystalie writes, “Constantly late. Several no-shows. I ended up missing appointments because they claimed I didn’t schedule the right address.” Carmen says service is so unreliable that she “always packed a snack and brought my phone charger.”

Several people who work in the medical field also sounded off about LogistiCare, like Stacy, who writes, “I've seen them never show up and patients end up walking home.”  Meagan, a nurse, adds: “They constantly picked patients up late and [claimed] we told them different times.” She says “we filed complaints every time this happened. We can’t be the only ones.”

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