Idaho Lawmakers Listen To Health Care Concerns

Jan 27, 2017

Idaho residents flocked to the Capitol Friday to urge lawmakers to provide health care to the state's neediest citizens, address Idaho's medical transportation system and reform religious exemptions.

The testimony was part of the annual listening session hosted by the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees.

In 2016, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare chose San Diego-based Veyo to arrange transportation for Medicaid patients to go to non-emergency health care appointments. However, testifiers told lawmakers that the contract has resulted in long delays, untrained drivers and unsafe working conditions.

Jenna Dewitz is an intern at Pioneer Health Resources. She says their clients are struggling with Veyo.

“We have clients who are picked up and taken to the wrong place and we have a huge portion of refugee clients who can’t speak English and so they’re basically lost for hours. We have young children that are not being picked up from appointments,” Dewitz said.

Josh Komenda, president of Veyo, testified to lawmakers saying the company is sympathetic to the challenges faced by clients.

“We’re making great strides in improvements on service quality and firmly believe we can continue to fix the frustration faced and deliver a better service than ever before,” said Komenda.

Representative Fred Wood of Burley said that he expects to hold another hearing soon to learn more about Veyo's challenges.

Other testifiers urged the panel to support expanding Medicaid eligibility for the estimated 78,000 Idahoans who don't have health insurance. Others urged lawmakers to repeal the law that allows parents to withhold medical care from children for religious reasons.

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