ShareThis Page
Home

Finger-pointing erupts in transportation dispute

| Saturday, Nov. 17, 2001

Fayette County officials and a former transportation contractor traded allegations of mismanagement Friday as their clients continued to experience delays in getting to and from their life-sustaining dialysis appointments.

According to Fayette County Commissioner Sean Cavanagh, Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation's solicitor, Sheryl Heid, and director Michelle Shumar made allegations that former contractor Tri-Conn Alternative Services Inc. had submitted double-billings for services.

"Sheryl Heid seemed 100 percent confident that (Tri-Conn) didn't have a leg to stand on," Cavanagh said.

But Robert M. Topper, administrative director of Tri-Conn, said the allegations were simply hogwash.

"We couldn't have double-billed them because we don't bill them. We submit a sheet of what services we provided, and they pay us.

"They double-paid us for three months, and they took that back. We've tried to (check their math) by asking for a sheet detailing what they did to pay us, but they never sent that," said Topper.

"It gets personal when they make allegations of impropriety like that," he added.

Topper also stated that his firm had laid off 30 employees because of the county's lack of prompt payment.

Since Tri-Conn dropped service, last week several patients who use a Mt. Pleasant dialysis clinic have experienced delays getting to and from their therapies.

Sharon Holmes, clinic manager for Fresenius Medical Care, said none of her 15 patients who depend on FACT have had to go to the hospital yet because of delays.

"But that's because we've been moving heaven and earth to work with (FACT)," she said.

Patients continued to call the Tribune-Review yesterday to report delays and other problems with FACT service.

Topper said Tri-Conn is still owed nearly $45,000 by the county.

Topper believes Shumar simply is unsure of what is going on.

He said the company didn't experience problems until the departure of a former FACT employee.

"I just think there's people in charge who aren't sure what they're in charge of," he said. "Let them show me where we double-billed them in black and white."

Shumar could not be reached for comment.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me