A spokesperson for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing said the state would look at contract remedies against Ohio-based First Transit once the call issues have been resolved.
First Transit declined to make anyone available for an interview and a spokesman said he was unsure when the issues would be resolved.
Medicaid pays for transportation for patients who live in areas that aren't served by public transportation and for patients whose disabilities make taking such transportation impossible.
When Sandy Schwartz, a Medicaid patient from Commerce City, called to check on a ride to the hospital for hip surgery Thursday, she was unable to get through to First Transit.
"It'd be nice if they'd answer their phone," Schwartz said. "This is the first time I've run into a Mickey Mouse outfit like this."
"I'm sure they were trying to do their best, but the transition should not have been this quick," Julie Reiskin, the executive director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, said.
Riskin says the state's changeover to First Transit seemed rushed and lacked a backup plan.
"They should have extended the old contract for a few months so that there could be a reasonable transition so that all systems could be tested, so that an emergency plan could be developed and implemented," Riskin said.
She's worried about the impact on clients like Schwartz if they miss appointments, and the impact on health care providers who can't bill for that care.
"It's already so hard to get providers to take Medicaid clients at all," Riskin said. "Some of these providers who are serving our most vulnerable clients are now going to get hit on multiple levels and then we're going to wonder why they don't want to serve these clients."
A state spokesperson said First Transit would be adding staff, hours and phone lines to handle call volume on Tuesday.
Schwartz is still trying to figure out how she'll get in for her hip surgery if First Transit doesn't answer the phone.
"It doesn't have to be perfect, but at least let us know what's going on, so we can make other arrangements," she said.
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