Elderly, wheelchair-bound woman found in Kalihi, and no one knows what happened

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Alice Smith is 71 years old, wheelchair-bound, and was supposed to be picked up and brought to her care home.

Instead she was found on a Kalihi Street in the middle of the night.

Her family is looking for answers about who’s responsible, so they called Action Line.

Smith goes to Liberty Dialysis in Liliha three times a week. A transportation company usually takes her there and brings her home to Oahu Care Center of Honolulu.

But her family tells us that on April 2, Smith was found outside Mayor Wright Housing by herself at 2 a.m. So how did she get there?

We tracked down several mistakes with the parties involved in Smith’s care that night, and discovered she’s not the only one who’s had transportation issues in the past few weeks.

Smith’s family gave us a timeline of what happened: Smith finished dialysis at 8:15 p.m. and was scheduled for a pickup by a company called IntelliRide at 8:45-9 p.m.

Her family, who lives on Molokai, got a call from her care home just after midnight saying that she never came home. After calling relatives on Oahu and Honolulu police, a security guard found Smith outside Mayor Wright Housing.

She was fine, but she also suffers from dementia, so she wasn’t able to tell them what happened.

“We still don’t know to this day who actually was responsible for dropping her off. We’re going around in circles so that’s kind of frustrating for us because something could have really happened to her,” said Smith’s daughter-in-law, Lennie Corpuz.

KHON2 took the family’s questions straight to IntelliRide to ask what happened. The local office is in Waipahu, but it referred us to a spokeswoman in Washington, D.C.

She said in an email that the company just started working with Smith’s care home on April 1, one day before Smith’s incident. IntelliRide doesn’t have its own fleet, so it subcontracts to local transportation companies like Hawaii Super Handivan.

The spokeswoman says the company is upgrading its systems and mistakes have occurred, resulting in some missed and late trips. She also says Smith was not picked up that night, and they don’t know what happened at the clinic or how she left.

That’s right. IntelliRide says no one picked Smith up. If that’s the case, how did she wind up at Mayor Wright Housing? The complex is about a mile away from Liberty Dialysis.

The family says Smith was found past 2 a.m., so family members had been frantically searching for her for more than two hours.

“That don’t make sense with what the dialysis people are telling us, and what the care home is telling us, and all the stories that’s going around right now, that they’re telling us she wandered off,” said Corpuz.

So we went to Liberty Dialysis in Liliha. This time, we were referred to another spokesman on the mainland. Fresenius Medical Care owns Liberty Dialysis and emailed a statement saying “patients are supposed to remain within our facility until the transport vehicle arrives, and are then escorted to the transportation vehicle by the transportation staff.”

So if the transportation staff never arrived, how did she leave the dialysis clinic? The spokesman didn’t respond.

That takes us to the care home where Smith lives. Care Center of Honolulu accepts payment through several providers, including Ohana Health Plan, which is owned by WellCare Health Plans.

A WellCare spokesperson in Chicago emailed a statement saying, “We are taking this issue very seriously and working closely with IntelliRide to address it…”

She says they received 54 complaints last week, after the contract started, and service members have received since then does not meet our expectations.

IntelliRide does about 2,000 trips a week for WellCare, which is Medicaid-funded.

KHON2 also asked why the family was not notified until midnight when the dialysis clinic is only a few minutes away, but we didn’t get a response.

Action Line also received complaints about IntelliRide. Passengers have missed appointments because the ride was either late or never showed up.

Passengers tell us they’ve also had a hard time getting through to make appointments.

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