EATON — Non-emergency transportation (NET) will be soon be transferring to State/Medicaid control, a move that worries Preble County residents who utilize these programs.
Preble County has previously contracted with the PC Council on Aging for transportation, a system has been working thus far, according to officials — the fear is those needing the service will not get the same level of service once the state has control.
According to Job and Family Services Director Becky Sorrell, however, there might be an opportunity to keep local control.
Sorrell appealed to the Preble County Board of Commissioners during a meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 20, and asked for their support in any future discussion regarding the service.
“We are currently contracted with Council on Aging to do our NET Transportation and UTS. The State NET Transportation, which is for Medicaid clients to go to Medicaid appointments, is currently under the JFS heading, but it is moving to Medicaid,” Sorrell explained.
“They want to do a state contract with specific transportation providers to provide transportation to all of our clients, but there is an opportunity for us to keep a local decision on that and I would really like us to keep that as a local contract with Council on Aging.
“We have experienced what happens when we go to these big transportation companies — our clients do not get served. They are not located near us and our clients do not get picked up on time. The client will still have an option to chose a different transportation agency, like they do now with UTS, but I would really like to keep local control.”
Commission President Chris Day added, “A lot of the local and rural counties have voiced their concerns, because the state provider could be located in Columbus or Butler County and it just doesn’t work for us.”
“It is not efficient either,” Commissioner Denise Robertson said.
“I think they are taking notice of that,” Day replied.
In other JFS news, Sorrell reported Ohio is transferring CASH and food stamps into the new eligibility system for Medicaid. There are counties currently working in that system, but there are some who are functioning in the old system.
In July, Preble County will be at 100 percent in the new system. This is requiring many hours of training for everyone involved in JFS. Many staff members will be out in 2018 for these trainings.
“This is going to affect your timeliness numbers?” Commissioner Denise Robertson asked and Sorrell responded that it may, but more likely she will be asking for overtime hours.
“We’re going to watch it, but we may ask for overtime to keep on the cases and to be sure everybody is getting the services that they need,” Sorrell explained.
Sorrell also received her employee evaluation from the Preble County Commissioners, which was positive.
“As you can see, going through that, it was a very positive review,” Commissioner Day said. “I know you worked a lot with staff over the past year, dealing with turnover and all that. It is just the nature of the business that you are in, we understand that. We appreciate what you have done and we hope in the future we can continue to attract people who want to stay in the county.”
This brought Sorrell to her 2018 goals. She asked the commissioners for ideas on what they would wish to see her do, but also shared one of her main goals is to start a new leadership group.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH