Wednesday, April 17, 2013

LogistiCon - Privatization Still Bad For Our Health And Our Checkbooks

In his last budget, Governor Jim Doyle added a provision to make it possible to centralize all of the non-emergency medical transports which are covered by Medicaid.  In 2011 he enacted that provision by giving a contract to a company called LogistiCare, which was to cover all but the major Milwaukee area.

From the onset, there were major problems.

LogistiCare was failing to get rides for about 10% of the calls they were taking in. And when people would call to schedule a ride or complain about not getting a ride that had been scheduled, they were treated rather rudely.

And it wasn't only the patients complaining.  Vendors had many issues with the system.  So many that some of them were quitting the system within weeks of starting with them.

Things were getting so bad that Waupaca County had to file an elder abuse complaint with the state so that they had the grounds to override using LogistiCare.  Eventually, after missing at least seven kidney dialysis appointments, the man passed away.

Despite all of these problems, Scott Walker saw fit to expand LogistiCare's contract to cover the whole state.

Because LogistiCare had lowballed their bid so much, they started losing money on the contract.  Eventually, they chose to bail on their contract.

The state has now rebid the contract and awarded it to MTM, Inc.  The hitch is that the contract with MTM, Inc. is now worth more than $2 million per year than it would have cost to have kept the services in the public domain.

Naturally, this raises a lot of questions and a lot of red flags:
Gary Goyke, a legislative consultant for several transportation coalitions, accused state officials of making up savings to convince legislators to privatize.

"It was manufactured, in my opinion. Certainly, it hasn't shown up to date," he said. "The Assembly bill does not show a savings from brokers in it. That goes into effect July 1. It also does not show in how much has been spent."

Goyke, Disability Rights Wisconsin and state legislators are renewing their previous demands for an audit after officials from the state Department of Health revealed Thursday that they intend to pursue a three-year contract worth $53.8 million per year with Missouri-based MTM Inc.
Unsurprisingly, Walker's administration is standing by their privatization plan, saying that it's the most economical. Only in Fitzwalkerstan would something that costs more and delivers less would be considered economical. He was probably referring to the campaign donations he received from the lobbyists.

This doesn't surprise me a bit.

In the mid to late 1990s, there was a battle going on in Milwaukee County regarding its child welfare system.  A class action lawsuit was filed against Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin in which it was claimed that the civil rights of foster children were being violated by not reaching permanency in federally mandated time frames, children being moved from home to home to home and being abused while in the system.

An independent audit was done to determine the cause of these unacceptable conditions.  The results supported the claims that the county was being grossly underfunded by the state.  Despite this proof, the state claimed it was due to mismanagement by the county.  In 1998, the state took over the system.  By September 2001 they had privatized every aspect of the system that they legally could.  In fact, the audit showed that the public sector gave taxpayers twice the value of services than private agencies could.

To this date, taxpayers are paying more than $40 million a year for the privatized system and it's still not even up to the unacceptable standards that the county was performing at, much less up to federal requirements.

The fact that privatization doesn't work has been repeatedly pointed out, but the sheeples that make up groups like Americans for Prosperity won't let go of their fantasies that it is somehow a good thing.

But until people start waking up and realizing who the real takers are, expect to keep getting to pay more taxes for less services.

And people will still wonder why it's not working.

1 comment:

  1. Well if you think Logisticare was bad get ready MTM is much worse. It's going on 3 weeks and groups are starting to form. MTM is nothing more than smiling crooks. They are already stealing from providers pay checks blaming a computer glitch. Start watching your paychecks providers because you are getting ripped of right out of the gate. As a business owner you have to spend the entire day checking the pricing on all the trips. The fax will say the correct rate but their site will say another...very tricky. Just wait, liquidations start Sept 2nd, that's when they fine you and take money from your's called guilty before innocent.