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Tragedy in Illinois Highlights Risks Associated with NEMT

The tragic murder of an elderly Cook County, IL couple by a man they met when he served as their non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) driver is an extreme example of the risks vulnerable seniors and other medically fragile people face from unscrupulous providers, says Atlanta attorney Aaron Marks, who often represents clients injured during medical transport.

Photo of ambulance with 'For Sale' sign on it.

Photo credit: Ambulance by Paul Long, via Flickr.

“Many of these companies do not do the appropriate training or background checks to ensure their drivers are qualified and safe to be providing this service to these vulnerable patients,” Marks said.

In the Cook County case, driver Roger Scoby befriended an elderly couple, Ira and Tommie Moore, he met while serving as an NEMT driver transporting both to needed medical appointments. Ira Moore was a double leg amputee who used a wheelchair and his wife suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Prosecutors in Illinois say that Scoby frequently would visit the Moores outside of his work for them, socializing with them and bringing them gifts. On March 30, 2017, Scoby shot both Ira and Tommie Moore to death at their home. He later admitted his crime to police, giving no explanation for his actions.

Representatives for the Moores’ estates filed a civil suit on May 13, 2019 against Scoby as well as MV Transportation, Inc., the company that hired Scoby to drive the couple to medical appointments.

Injuries and deaths due to untrained or negligent NEMT providers

The suit seeks damages and compensation from the company for negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent training, negligent supervision and wrongful death.

After Scoby’s arrest, the families of the deceased discovered he had a lengthy criminal history, including a conviction and 10-year prison sentence for armed robbery.

“Although this is an extreme example, many NEMT providers across the country have been found to have not performed the mandated background checks before hiring drivers, and have hired drivers with poor driving records or other serious infractions that should disqualify them for this kind of work,” Marks said.

More NEMT Oversight Needed in Georgia

In Georgia, an investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found several instances of injuries and even deaths of patients due to improper care during NEMT trips. There is an urgent need for better regulation and oversight of these transportation companies.

“Unless there is increased oversight these tragedies will repeat themselves. It is not rocket science. We are treating our sick and infirm citizens worse than cargo. Many of these drivers would never qualify for a CDL (commercial driver’s license), so we shouldn’t let them transport our relatives. Georgia law requires, under OCGA 46-1-1(1)., that NEMT providers exercise extraordinary care. This law is clearly not being followed,” Marks said.

Although this is an extreme example, many NEMT providers across the country have been found to have not performed the mandated background checks before hiring drivers, and have hired drivers with poor driving records or other serious infractions that should disqualify them for this kind of work,” Marks said.

“In most cases, the patients receiving NEMT are covered by Medicaid and there may be only one NEMT company providing coverage for that area,” Marks explained. “They don’t have a choice about who to go to for transportation. It is not enough to just leave it up to market forces to weed out bad providers.”

If you or a family member have been injured due to improper care or an accident while using non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), contact the experienced NEMT injury attorneys at The Marks Law Group, LLC. Call or text (404) 724-5039 for a free initial consultation. The Marks Law Group has helped many families recover appropriate compensation.

 

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