Medicaid No Longer Funding Tioga Co. Buses

Tioga Co. Buses

     OWEGO---(WENY) Recent Changes to the Medical Transportation System is now costing Tioga County tax payers $370,000.00 a year.
     For the last 20 years Medicaid has paid for Tioga County to bus its Medicaid recipients to and from their medical appointments using public transportation, taking care of most of the $440,000.00 cost to run Tioga County's buses.
     Now, under the new Medicaid system, the New York State Department of Health has contracted a private company to manage Tioga County's Medical Transportation system.
     Patients are now being taken by taxi to their appointments, causing a drop in Medicaid transports on Tioga County buses from 993 trips per month, down to eight per month.
     Tioga County Chair, Martha Saurbrey says the state failed to notify the county of the change in enough time to make adjustments to the 2014 budget, resulting in a 1.7% tax increase.
     Now, only about 200 people ride the bus everyday, leaving the county to figure out what to do next.
     Saurbrey says, "Our first objective is to keep providing a bus transportation system. If we feel that it's going to be too costly, we may consider discontinuing the service. A lot of our buses are empty. We still have to pay for them, and that puts us in this dilemma."
     Tioga County legislators don't want to make any decisions without first hearing from the people. To offer your feed back, contact the Tioga County Legislative Office at