A tragic, and completely preventable, accident happened in West Memphis, Arkansas, this Monday when 5-year-old Christopher Gardner, Jr died after being left in a van belonging to Ascent Children’s Health Services.
Four Ascent employees have been charged with manslaughter in connection to the child’s death, but the transportation broker, Southeastrans, continues to be responsible for getting children to Medicaid-funded therapy at Ascent West Memphis. Southeastrans is subject to a 13-point corrective action plan, but is unclear at this point what consequences it will face should it fail to perform as required.
Sadly, Southeastrans continues to operate largely without consequence for the negligent, and at times grossly negligent, behavior of its transportation providers. Southeastrans is a non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) broker. These brokers frequently look to avoid responsibility for their transportation partners’ negligence by claiming they merely provide training, and not the actual transportation. However, NEMT broker training and supervision is clearly insufficient if these preventable accidents keep happening.