PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The FOX 12 Investigators first told you months ago how the Ride to Care program was leaving people stranded who needed to get to medical appointments. Now, the state is cracking down on the group who provides Ride to Care to Oregon Health Plan members.

The investigation started back in July. Suzanne Morris, who lives in Sandy and relies on Ride to Care to get to her appointments, said she often wasn’t getting picked up on time or at all.

“I don’t care if you’re healthy and you’re going to the doctor for a checkup, when you leave, you wanna leave,” Morris said to FOX 12 back in July. “You don’t want to sit in the doctor’s office for three or four hours and when you don’t feel good, it’s no good.”

The FOX 12 Investigators started digging into Ride to Care and found Morris was far from the only one, with some Oregon Health Plan members missing dialysis and chemo appointments.

Now, the state is backing up Morris’ claims and others, saying Ride to Care isn’t taking care of Oregon Health Plan members the way it should.

The Oregon Health Authority recently sent a letter to Health Share of Oregon, the coordinated care organization that provides Ride to Care to OHP members, calling out the group for not providing reliable transportation to its members.

The letter states the Ride to Care complaint rate is 268 percent higher than the average complaint rate for similar transportation programs.

It also lists specific complaints and concerns with Ride to Care, like people not being picked up, call wait times averaging 45 minutes, and a lack of complaint response or resolution by Health Share and GridWorks. GridWorks is the company Health Share contracts to oversee Ride to Care. 

Health Share is now required to provide OHA with a turn-around plan. OHA also recommends Health Share hire a consultant experienced with transportation programs like Ride to Care. Health Share must also provide weekly reports, showing things like what rides were on time, late and no-shows.

In the past, Health Share has said the problems start at GridWorks’ dispatch center.

“All rides should get people to and from their appointments safely and on time, and anything less than that is unacceptable,” said Stephanie Vandehey, the Communications Manager for Health Share of Oregon back in July.

The FOX 12 Investigators reported Monday that GridWorks’ contract would be terminated early next year. 

If OHA doesn’t feel Health Share is meeting the new requirements, the letter states the organization could lose its contract all together.

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