Ronald Vashone-Caruso, a convicted murderer out on supervised release, transported Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) patients until an allegedly harassed patient complained to the Colorado Department of Corrections. Mr. Vashone-Caruso was not terminated for his behavior or criminal history, but rather his insurance had lapsed, making him ineligible under Colorado law.
NEMT is the transportation of elderly, sick or disabled patients to and from attending doctors’ appointments and non-emergency medical treatment. Because these patients are, by definition, medically fragile, the persons transporting them need special training, background checks, and drug testing, at a minimum. Unfortunately this often does not happen, resulting in catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths.
Mr. Vashone-Carus worked for Liberty Transportation, the for-profit NEMT provider, which is now out of business. The for-profit NEMT broker, Total Transit, is ultimately responsible for quality controlling who operates under Colorado’s NEMT program. Interestingly, Total Transit has refused to comment on how Mr. Vashone-Carus became a NEMT driver.
Because Liberty Transportation and Total Transit are transporting patients for money they are “common carriers” and therefore have the “highest duty” to transport their patients safely.