Icy conditions on I-10 during the New Years ice storm. (KRTS File Photo)
Icy roads have posed traffic problems off and on across West Texas since New Years.
For Medicaid patients, that’s meant cancelling appointments, and for TRAX Transportation, that has meant not getting paid.
“Project Amistad, which is Medicaid, just reimburse us for the clients that we take,” explained Tita Nuñez, TRAX Transportation Coordinator.
TRAX is the only public transportation for Medicaid patients in the region. Since New Years, the service has cancelled several trips per week because of ice.
No trips means no funds and delayed medical appointments region-wide. For dialysis patients scheduled for three treatments per week, that’s meant missing consecutive appointments.
“The icy roads, somebody might get hurt, killed,” said Executive Director, Emma Vasquez. “We can’t take that chance.”
With less money another one of the program’s problems is getting worse — a lack of drivers.
TRAX currently has 13 drivers. Nuñez said the program needs over twice that amount to run efficiently. Almost half of the current drivers are office staff filling in as drivers, which cuts into their time running other programs.
TRAX is currently applying for a grant to fund maintenance costs on their vehicles.
– Anna Rose MacArthur