DES MOINES, IOWA — Des Moines Area Regional Transportation is relied upon by many. “The top the reasons people use DART are to get to jobs, education and health care appointments,” said Amanda Wanke, the Chief External Affairs Officer at DART. Those users include people who use Para Transit. “Door to door service for those physically or cognitively unable to use our fixed route service.”
It’s expensive to provide, costing around $24 per trip. Now that Medicaid is privatized, the most DART can charge is $3.50. It is costing the state $500,000 a year and DART doesn’t have a choice. “We are also federally required to provide those Para Transit rides,” said Wanke.
This July, to keep those wheels moving DART says those losses will be covered in part by homeowners. Wanke said, “We are seeing that loss in revenue and have had to cover that through tax payer dollars. It is part of the reason the commission had to raise the property tax levy by 2 1/2 cents for the next year due to that loss in Medicaid.”
While a nationwide investigation into Medicaid oversight aims to repair any breakdowns in patient care, DART along with homeowners hope that locally this squeaky wheel gets some oil. “We have been working closely with the governor’s office and legislature on this and are looking for solutions,” said Wanke.
DART officials say private transportation companies in Iowa are fully reimbursed for Medicaid rides.