A Pittsfield woman is not eligible for the Voluntary Leadership Program because she has Medicaid

Just last week, Pamela Disney praised volunteer chauffeur services for the Community Action Program. They provided efficient and reliable transportation for Disney, who does not have a car, to attend her frequent medical appointments.

Its alternatives – taking the bus or taxi service from Pittsfield – take hours longer and are difficult to set up, especially for those without a computer. Disney suffers from severe sciatica, which makes being out of the house for an extended period of time extremely painful.

During one appointment in Bedford, Disney found herself stuck for three hours waiting for a taxi to bring her home.

After appearing in observerDisney now has no choice but to schedule a taxi ride to get there. After she learned she was eligible for Medicaid coverage, she was disqualified from the Volunteer Driver Program.

“Unfortunately, as much as we would like to help, our hands are tied. As long as they have Medicaid, we cannot accept them,” said Rosa Burt, Community Action Program Volunteer Driver Program coordinator for Belknap and Merrimack counties. They have no other source of transportation.”

Although the transportation offered through Medicaid is free, it is not straightforward. It includes pages of apps to approve and learn how to navigate multi-step phone menus with clogged numbers and full mailboxes.

Medicaid pays for non-emergency transportation services as part of coverage from four providers who have contracts with the Department of Health and Human Services — the NH DHHS fee for the service, NH Healthy Families, WellSense Health Plan and AmeriHealth Caritas New Hampshire.

Then, providers have complete control over coverage, schedules, payment, and type of transfer.

Transportation to appointments can come in the form of special trips from family and friends with mileage reimbursement, taxi fare, buses, wheelchairs or non-emergency ambulance rides.

To schedule a trip, users connect to these services directly. Some brokers require 48 hours notice, others need at least three days to confirm the transfer.

Disney, which is covered by WellSense, calls its transfer number to schedule its flights. WellSense uses a few different taxi services to fulfill orders. It’s lucky with one provider, but the timing of trips and the availability of drivers can be affected or missed.

These services are available to 225,000 people in New Hampshire who have Medicaid coverage, according to state data. The Federal Insurance Program provides health care coverage to eligible low-income and disabled individuals.

To apply for assistance, eligible persons can go online to fill out applications through the nheasy.nh.gov website, or visit an area administrative office.

Ask for Help is a 12-page booklet containing questions about income, assets, expenses, and personal background. Through this application, people can apply for supplemental nutrition assistance, child care, nursing facility, Medicaid, Medicaid and other programs simultaneously.

When Disney first enrolled in the Volunteer Driver Program through its local Welfare Office, it did not have Medicaid coverage.

After the insurance policy has been approved, you have not updated the driver’s program for which you have new coverage. She said that the service was excellent and that she forged close friendships with the volunteers.

Although the Services have been used for 15 years, they are no longer eligible.

For Disney, scheduling taxi rides is a tedious and stressful process. It may take up to two hours to confirm the transfer. It has less flexibility if it needs to be rescheduled and uncertainty with pickups from appointments.

She doesn’t have an extra $50 in her budget to pay for a taxi herself if the trip fails because her income is below the poverty line. She lives alone in Pittsfield without access to technology.

After riding with the Volunteer Program for many years, Disney had the phone numbers of drivers who would often pick them up, and they could call them directly.

Disney isn’t alone in its hesitation with the service. Frequently, Burt’s office gets calls from prospective riders who have struggled to use Medicaid-provided services, she said.

The only solution she can have is to file a complaint through Medicaid.

However, to file a complaint, passengers must contact the broker directly through the same maze of phone numbers they navigate to book flights.

The observer Was not able to get the number of complaints lodged due to the providers not responding.

Medicaid does not cover Disney dental coverage. She’s hoping as a result, she can still get free trips through the dentist’s appointments volunteer program.

Otherwise, she is not sure what she will do.

“It’s hard for someone in my position,” she said.

how can I help

To lead the Community Action Program Volunteer Program in Belknap and Merrimack County, contact 603224-8043 or email vdpcoordinator@bm-cap.org

To schedule a Medicaid trip, call the following numbers based on your coverage plan:

NH DHHS fee for the service: 844-259-4780 (48 hours prior notice required)

Healthy Families in NH: 888-597-1192 (three days’ notice required)

WellSense Health Plan: 844-909-7433 (48 hours prior notice required)

AmeriHealth Caritas New Hampshire: 833-301-2264 (48 hours prior notice required)

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