Local transportation company faces major cuts in services due to - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Local transportation company faces major cuts in services due to state budget impasse

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

European Service provides non-emergency transportation to senior citizens and people on medicaid in the Rockford area.  But it says state budget issues could cause it to hit the brakes on its medicaid services. 

European Service Rockford Manager Michael Pedersen says it needs an increase in its medicaid rates. 

"The rates haven't increased in ten years," says Pedersen. 

Pedersen says the hang up is with the company it gets those rates through, First Transit of Illinois. He says it agreed to an increase in rates last December, but there's a problem. 

"They haven't been able to honor it because of a lack of a state budget," says Pedersen.

He says those rates are what it needs to keep the wheels rolling on medicaid services. 

"99.9% of our business is medicaid.  I have 10 drivers and 6 vehicles.  I can't keep those drivers around with no business."

He's hoping legislators will step in to not only fix the budget impasse, but find a way to increase these rates.  European Service passenger Mona Winfield says the service is a lifesaver. She battles Type II Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, among other ailments. 

"I can barely get out the door," says Winfield. "It's good that they'll come and get me to and from the car. I appreciate that."

She says she doesn't know what she'll do without their constant care. 

"Right now I don't know what I'm going to do as far as my rides.  I pray, because we really need that.  That's something that we really need."

Democratic Senator Steve Stadelman says that since December, the Comptroller was freed more than four million dollars of backlogged bills to the company. 

"We've been able to expedite some payments from the state to improve the cash flow to keep them open a bit longer. I've been told by the comptroller as of December 1st they've been given 4.5 million dollars."

Senator Dave Syverson says he was aware of the backlog of bills be released by the comptroller. However he says the company hasn't reached out over the medicaid rate issues. 

"If they've been having serious problems, most vendors who have problems call us and say we're having problems." says Syverson. "Then we look into finding out what the deal is look at the contracts and who's not getting paid and why. I can certainly look into where the hold up was."

  

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