ARNOLD, Mo. – A patient with horrific medical troubles is struggling to get to the doctor, even though taxpayers are picking up the tab for transportation.
Arnold resident Viva Schermesser lost both of her legs due to a medical concern earlier this year. She’s in and out of the doctor’s office all of the time for visits that are critical to her well-being.
Adding insult to injury, it’s hard for Viva to even get to doctor’s visits. The problem is, private vans that taxpayers fund to transport her to medical visits just aren’t showing up.
“They didn’t just miss one or two transports,” says her daughter Debra Gill. “My mom has been stood up for transportation 13 times [and] nine times in a row. She obviously needs to go to the doctor. She’ll call at 6 o’clock, as soon as they open, to make sure they’re going to be there, and they just stand her up and don’t ever show up.”
For Viva, it’s beyond disappointing. She’s already got enough hardship on her plate not having use of her legs.
“It’s actually very scary because I’ve had eight strokes and I have to go meet with doctors,” said Viva. “I have to follow up with my doctors and the doctor’s office. I have even called to try to get appointments. They were supposed to come on Friday, and they didn’t show up. They were supposed to come on Monday. They didn’t come Monday or Tuesday it’s just ridiculous.”
Medicaid pays the private company for the transports. Both Viva and her daughter have reached out to government officials.
“They either tell me to hold or they never answer the phone they put me through to their voicemail that’s always full,” said Debra.
They tried to reach the company getting your dollars. No luck there either.
“Like no one really cares,” said Viva. “I try to do the best I can. I can’t do anything for people anymore.”
Recently, they called the You Paid For It team for help.
Elliott Davis contacted the communications officials in Washington at The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). One spokesperson said in a statement, “We refer you to the state Medicaid agency. Medicaid is administered by states, according to federal requirements, and from what you describe, the transportation services would be paid for by Medicaid.”
You Paid For It reached out to state officials, as well as the private transportation company. We’re waiting to hear back from both.