Complaints against LogistiCare spike after company takes over in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- LogistiCare, a widely-criticized company contracted by the state is in the hot seat. The company arranges rides for Medicaid patients to and from their doctor's appointments, and extended services to the Milwaukee area last month. Since then, complaints have spiked.

The state heard complaints against LogistiCare during a public hearing Thursday, October 18th.

Mable Redd says the three times she was left waiting at her doctor's office nearly sent her into a diabetic coma.

"My mouth gets dry and I get clammy and my sugar drops," Redd said.

Complaints about LogistiCare have spiked since September when the company took over services for the greater Milwaukee area.

"We acknowledge there was some past issues.  We are past what caused them and we are trying to resolve them as soon as possible. I apologize," LogistiCare Senior VP of Operations Chuck DeZearn said.

The company has admitted to being ill-prepared. It recently increased staff at its Madison dispatch center from 63 people to 110. The company also added additional vehicles -- increasing from 285 in the Milwaukee area to over 400.

"I believe we are headed in the right direction. Are we there yet? No," DeZearn said.

Meanwhile, a letter signed by 51 Wisconsin lawmakers calls for a full audit of the LogistiCare program, citing multiple complaints from constituents. Patients have asked the state to hold LogistiCare accountable if no improvement is seen.

"I hope they just do what they are supposed to be doing -- just be on time to pick people back up," Redd said.

LogistiCare says it arranges about 3,500 rides a day in Milwaukee County. In September alone, the company says it got over 450 complaints -- either for rides being late or not showing up at all.