June 30, 2012

Non-Profit Spotlight: MOVIN' Grey-Bruce Transportation Service

ONTARIO, CANADA - The Home and Community Support Services of Grey-Bruce MOVIN' Grey-Bruce Transportation Service provides affordable community-based wheelchair accessible non-emergency medical transportation to eligible people from their homes to medical appointments in the Bruce and Grey Counties region of Southern Ontario. Based in Owen Sound,  MOVIN'GB is a non-profit program that is funded by the South West Local Health Integration Network. The program utilizes both paid and volunteer drivers, and both wheelchair accessible and regular vans. For more information see the MOVIN' GB Brochure (pdf).

VIDEO: Movin' Grey Bruce Transportation Service

It's Our Story - Barry Rosenberg

DISABILITY RIGHTSIt's Our Story: Answers from America's Disability Activists is a national initiative to document the history of disability rights advocacy in the United States. It's Our Story has collected over a thousand video interviews with leaders of the disability rights movement. People such as Barry Rosenberg of Denver, Colorado (shown in Video #1) share candid recollections of their experiences. Rosenberg advocated as part of a group called WADE, to bring accessible transit bus service to Denver in the early 1970's. Their efforts resulted in the Regional Transportation District (RTD) initiating one of the first wheelchair accessible transit services in the United States. Barry Rosenberg has remained involved in disability rights, seniors housing, and visual impairment issues.

VIDEO #1: Barry Rosenberg, part 05 of 17: "Fighting for Accessible Transit"

VIDEO #2: It's Our Story

June 29, 2012

NEWS: Special Needs Woman Sexually Assaulted Aboard Virginia School Bus by 3 Other Students

CHESAPEAKE, VIRGINIA - June 26, 2012 - 3 Chesapeake teens have been charged with the sexual assault of a 21 year old special needs student aboard a school bus. All students on the bus were from the Southeast Cooperative Education Program (SECEP), a Virginia organization that provides special needs education programs for students between the ages of 2 to 21. The assault reportedly happened during the afternoon of May 25, 2012. School district officials are refusing to confirm or deny if there was a school bus attendant on duty at the time of the incident. There was apparently onboard surveliance video footage that proved helpful in the investigation.

June 28, 2012

NEWS: Unlicensed Medicaid Transport Provider Closed Down

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - June 6, 2012 - A Brooklyn company that had been operating since 1987 without a license has been shut down by New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). The company, Private Escort Service (PLS) had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years for providing State Medicaid transports. Medicaid officials said they were unaware that PES did not have the required TLC license. Medicaid has since stopped using them as a transport provider, and has made it mandatory that all ambulette companies provide proof of license. For more information see: Paratransit Company Shut Down.

June 27, 2012

Non-Profit Spotlight: Volunteer Transportation Center

SUPPLEMENTAL TRANSPORTATION - The Volunteer Transportation Center of Watertown, New York is a non-profit organization that provides essential rides to health, social, and other destinations for residents of Jefferson and Lewis Counties who have no other transportation alternatives. Supported by the United Way of Northern New York, the Volunteer Transportation Center utilizes volunteer drivers to provide service to communities such as Watertown, Adams, Adams Center, Clayton, Henderson, Carthage, Croghan, and Lowville. Go to: Supplemental Transportation Programs to find similar services in New York State.

VIDEO: Volunteer Transportation Center - 2008

June 26, 2012

Training: Evacuating Elderly and Disabled Passengers from Public Transportation Vehicle Emergencies

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS - Safe evacuation of any public transit vehicle during an emergency requires clear thinking, good communication, and quick responsible actions on the part of the driver and other transit personnel until emergency responders have arrived on seen. Prior training in dealing with such emergencies can greatly help drivers, attendants, or supervisors calmly follow procedures, protocol, and methods; just as people that have received First-Aid or CPR training do when confronted with a medical emergency. If that is true for the evacuation of able-bodied passengers, then it is even more so when it comes to evacuating passengers that are elderly and disabled. The following video is the audio-visual portion of a 1991 training course that was prepared to address this need. Although dated, it still remains relevant. It looks at how the driver and attendant should assess the situation and take steps to carry out a safe vehicle evacuation. As well, it shows in detail the methods used, such as passenger transfers and drags that might be required in an emergency. See my post: Small Bus Fire Safety, to see just how quickly a paratransit bus can become engulfed in flames.

Training Course:
- Evacuating Elderly and Disabled Passengers from Public Transportation Vehicle Emergencies (VIDEO)
- Evacuating Elderly and Disabled Passengers from Public Transportation Vehicle Emergencies (TRAINER'S HANDBOOK) 
- Evacuating Elderly and Disabled Passengers from Public Transportation Vehicle Emergencies (PARTICIPANT'S HANDBOOK)

Additional Materials:
Recommended Emergency Preparedness Guidelines for Elderly and Disabled Rail and Transit Passengers (1989) - 83 page pdf
- Paratransit and Bus Accidents Involving Elderly and Disabled Passengers: Evacuation and Rescue Problems and Solutions (1984)

VIDEO: Evacuation from Public Transportation Vehicle Emergencies

June 24, 2012

Inspirations: John Kawie

JOHN KAWIE -  John Kawie is a stand-up comedian from New York. In 1997 he suffered a debilitating stroke. At first, he wasn't sure if he would ever return to the stage, because he had completely forgot his stand-up routine. As he recovered he began to develop fresh material based upon his new life rehabiliting and living with the continuing effects of the stroke. The result of which is: Brain Freeze, a DVD recorded live at the Gotham Comedy Club in NYC which features monologues about living with a disability that deal with topics such as paratransit, healthcare, bathroom, escalator, sex, CVA, a Woman's Perfect Man, coat, Mothers with Strollers, and post-it-notes. For more information read: Life at the Curb.

June 20, 2012

NEMT Business Strategy #2: Doing What Paratransit Can Not Do

NEMT BUSINESS STRATEGIES - When exploring the possibilities of starting a Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) business, entrepreneurs may be concerned over the presence of paratransit services in their market area. They may ask: how can my new venture compete with a government subsidized program that provides a similar service? It’s presence in the community will have an effect, just as the availability of wheelchair accessible taxis or other NEMT competitors will also contribute to the mix of transportation options available to your potential customer base.

Americans with Disabilities Act - An important thing to remember is that paratransit is government mandated. As such, it operates under specific national standards that are spelled out in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), although there may be some local exceptions, especially in smaller communities where they sometimes take on additional responsibilities. ADA Paratransit is there primarily to compliment transit; to fill in the gaps in accessibility that the fixed route service is not meeting. What paratransit can do, or can't; all revolves around that fact. That is what this post is all about: finding the potential for NEMT in market niches that paratransit is not serving. Here are some examples:

Curb-to-Curb Service - Many Paratransit agencies provide curb-to-curb service. Some may go door-to-door, but they are not required to do so. NEMT providers on the other hand routinely provide  door-through-door service. For example taking the passenger into the nursing home and handed to staff. Potential customers, programs, and facilities may not be aware of the difference.

Shared-Ride Service - Paratransit is a scheduled shared-ride service that can often result in on-board ride times in excess of an hour. While most clients will accept that inconvenience because the service is affordable; there could be situations when time is of the essence (non-emergency), or when a direct trip would be worth paying extra for private-pay trip with a NEMT company. Examples of which could be pain issues associated with long bus rides, or if the client is prone to car sickness.

Limited Service Area - The minimum service required under ADA stipulations is to provide service within a 3/4 mile radius of an operating transit route; usually restricted within the city limits, unless some form of regional transportation coordination has been established. As a private transportation provider, a NEMT company can provide service to customers outside of this area, as well as providing trips between communities, and even out of state (if the company has met state requirements). See the "Eligibility' section below for more information.

Limited Service Times - The hours of operation can vary widely from community to community, some are quite generous, while others are surprisingly limited. In such cases, anyone (for example) needing wheelchair accessible transportation to catch an early flight or take in a late movie would not be able to do so with paratransit. A NEMT company could provide service that extends beyond the regular operation hours of the local paratransit program. This would also compliment other programs that NEMT companies may provide services for during regular office hours, such as Medicaid or Veterans Affairs.

Eligibility - Eligibility is an ongoing issue that tends to get public attention only when there has been a policy change that effects a large number of users of paratransit, such as happens when a transit route has been eliminated (see 'Limited Service Area' above). Otherwise, it happens on a individual basis such as could result from a client's periodic eligibility review if for example, their mobility has improved to a point that the agency considers them now able to access regular transit services. This can leave people that had previously relied on paratransit, scrambling to find transportation. It's impossible to know who might find themselves in this position, but if a NEMT company has a presence on the internet or in the community through word-of-mouth, then there is a greater likelihood that they might consider your company for private-pay trips.

As local governments continue to grapple with fiscal restraints, paratransit programs are being eyed for possible cuts. This often results in reduction of services, sometimes to the minimum compliance under the ADA, while at the same time maintaining the long term plan of expanding the number of accessible fixed-route transit services; further reducing the demand for paratransit under the program. For NEMT companies, this means there will continue to be potential opportunities available to attract customers that paratransit is not reaching or is providing inadequate service for.

June 14, 2012

NEMT Profile: D&J Ambulette Service

BRONX, NEW YORKD&J Ambulette Service is a non-emergency medical transportation company based in Bronx, NY. Established over 15 years ago, they have grown to become one of the largest and most diverse ambulette service providers in the Tri-State Area. They pride themselves on providing safe, efficient, friendly, caring, and dependable service for clients. Also operating as CITICARE, D&J Ambulette Service pays special attention to the needs of family, caregivers, facilities and programs such as Providence Rest Adult Day Health Care.

VIDEO: D& J Ambulette Service Interviewed by Close-Up TV News

June 13, 2012

Provider Profile: KATS Paratransit

KINGSPORT, TENNESSEEKingsport Area Transit System (KATS) is the public transportation provider in Kingsport, Tennessee, a city of 50,000 in an area of the state that borders southwestern Virginia. The following video features service information interspersed with user interviews about the Paratransit Service provided by KATS.

VIDEO: KATS Transit Service

June 12, 2012

NEWS: Atlanta School District Admits Fault in Special Needs Student Bus Boarding Incident

ATLANTA - June 8, 2012 - Only after a local television made known the Fulton County School's refusal to pay for injuries suffered to a special needs student while boarding a school bus in December 2010, did the school district come foreword with an offer to help pay the family's medical bills for their daughter. The student, who has Cerebral Palsy was using a walker at the time. She was being loaded aboard the bus using a wheelchair lift.  Before the student had safely entered the bus, the operator began closing the lift; throwing the special needs student into the bus. The school district admitted they were at fault, but did not offer to pay for treatment of injuries sustained until now. To read the full story, go to: CBS Atlanta Gets Action: School Offers to Pay for Special Needs Student's Injuries.

June 11, 2012

NEWS: Topeka Metro Transit Re-Instates Full Paratransit Service

TOPEKA, KANSAS - April, 16, 2012 - The Topeka Metro Transit Authority (TMTA) has decided to re-instate full paratransit service to the city. In November, the TMTA had scaled back service to the minimum coverage allowed under the Americans With Disabilities Act in an effort to cut costs. After 6 months of reduced service it became clear to the TMTA that the cost savings was not as great as they had forecast and the board felt a "moral obligation" to return to full service throughout Topeka. For more information see: Wheelchair Bus Approved for Topeka.

June 10, 2012

Provider Profile: Alliance Limousine

LOS ANGELESAlliance Limousine provides a wide variety of luxury transportion services throughout the Los Angeles, California area, including LAX airport. One of the services they provide is Wheelchair Transportation. They use wheelchair lift equipped Mercedes Sprinter 2500 vans that include added luxury features you would expect from a quality limo company: such as leather seats, CD & DVD players, climate control, bottled water, newspaper/magazine, and cellular phone.

VIDEO: Wheelchair Transportation Services Los Angeles, LAX

June 9, 2012

NEWS: Serious Safety Concerns About LogistiCare Run Missouri Medicaid NEMT Brokerage

MISSOURI - May 15, 2012 - As a result of earlier investigative reports (LogistiCare Run NEMT Brokerage in Missouri Draws Complaints) by local television stations that looked into complaints against the LogistiCare run Medicaid Transportation brokerage, a former LogistiCare employee has come forth not only to confirm the patient's claims reported, but to reveal that LogistiCare had knowingly foregone or delayed a safety audit/inspection of the transportation service providers as stipulated in the $30 million annual contract to manage the brokerage for the State of Missouri (see: Transport Trouble Safety Questions - KCTV). After this story aired on KCTV, LogistiCare issued a response denying the accusations. It stated that LogistiCare had in fact been in touch with the reporter prior to the unannounced on-air interview shown in the video, and had at that time presented their case that the Missouri NEMT Program is being operating effectively and safely. To learn more read: What is LogistiCare?

June 6, 2012

NEWS: LogistiCare Run NEMT Medicaid Brokerage in Missouri Draws Complaints

MISSOURI - Feb. 21, 2012 - Since October 2011, when LogistiCare took over the $30 million annual contract to operate the Missouri Medicaid Transport brokerage, there have been claims of late buses and missed bookings. The following investigative report from KCTV: Transport Troubles (Feb. 21, 2012) shows the serious consequences that can result. The patient featured, failed to receive her necessary dialysis treatment because her ride never came. As a result, her condition worsened and she had to be transported twice by EMS to hospital, leaving her with a $1,300 ambulance bill. See: Woman Continues Fight Against State Ambulance Provider (Apr. 11, 2012) for the KCTV follow-up story. Another local station also did a news story that showed that such problems are not isolated to missed bookings, but also involve serious safety issues: I-Team: Investigation into LogistiCare (KSDK).
To learn more read: What is LogistiCare?

NEMT: Island Care Ambulance

BARBADOS - Island Care Ambulance Service is a medical transport company operating in the Caribbean island nation of Barbados. Established in 2000, Island Care Ambulance Service provides emergency, non-emergency, regional air ambulance, and special event services. Their non-emergency medical transportation division provides inter-hospital transports, out-patient transfers, nursing home transfers, patient admittance / discharge trips, as well as various personal trips for clients.

VIDEO: Island Care Ambulance Video - Barbados

June 5, 2012

Indiana University Health LifeLine Transfer Center

INDIANA - The following video provides a behind the scenes look at how a large state-of-the-art medical transfer facility operates when coordinating transports. Indiana University Health LifeLine provides statewide transports, that can range from emergency critical care flights to non-emergency ground transfers between medical facilities. Key to the success of the facility are the knowledgeable and experienced staff that work together with physicians, transporters, and facilities in a team approach to provide the highest level of care for patients during transfers. To find more services, go to the Air Medical Transport Directory.

VIDEO: Transfer Center | LifeLine | Indiana University Health

June 4, 2012

Non-Profit Spotlight: OATS

MISSOURIOATS is a non-profit organization that provides public transportation in 87 counties throughout Missouri. This mainly rural service, was established in 1971 as a co-operative operating 3 buses in 8 counties. Today with a staff of about 730, it operates over 800 vehicles, providing over 1,600,000 individual trips each year. The name "OATS", originally meant: "Older Adults Transportation Service", but today it serves a wide variety of people of various ages with disabilities and financial challenges. OATS maintains an active social media presence. You can follow them through: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

VIDEO: OATS - 40th Anniversary (1971-2011)

June 3, 2012

Choosing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle That's Right for You

UNITED KINGDOMMotability is a UK non-profit organization that enables people with disabilities who receive either the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance or the War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement to utilize these benefits to obtain a new car, powered wheelchair or scooter. The following video, hosted by Lara Masters provides a step-by-step process for buying a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV). While some of the information shown is specific to the Motability Scheme, much of it would be useful for anyone to consider before going ahead with such a purchase. Here are some of the things they suggest:

1. What is a WAV? - Learn about the different vehicle types and options available.
2. Why Choose a WAV? - Does a WAV fit your criteria and circumstances?
3. Things to Consider before Making a Decision - Who is using the WAV, Who is driving?, Budget constraints?, Take at least 1 test drive, Involve others, Try it where you will use it, Is it comfortable, convenient, Is there easy access?, Is there enough room? Will circumstances change?

VIDEO: Motability - Choosing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

State Medicaid Programs

District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York State
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Washington State
West Virginia

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

NEWS: Disability Reality Series - "Push Girls" Premiers Monday

TELEVISION - June 3, 2012 - PUSH GIRLS, a new reality TV series that follows the lives of 4 dynamic Los Angeles women will be premiering Monday, June 4 at 10pm (Pacific) on the Sundance Channel. 3 of the women: Tiphany Adams, Auti Angel, and Angela Rockwood suffered spinal cord injuries as a result of motor vehicle accidents, while the 4th, Mia Schaikewitz had a spinal stroke as a teen. The documentary series shows each of them in everyday situations as well as following their attempts to restart careers and face personal challenges.

VIDEO: PUSH GIRLS - Premiering June 4th

June 2, 2012

Non-Profit Spotlight: North Shore GO BUS, North Vancouver, BC

NORTH VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -The North Shore Seniors GO BUS (pdf) is one of the senior services operated by the Silver Harbour Seniors Centre, a seniors recreation centre located in North Vancouver. The GO BUS runs three days a week, connecting seniors to community centres, shopping, and medical appointments. Executive Director, Annwen Loverin was the 2010 recipient of the United Way Seniors Excellence in Action Award from the United Way | Lower Mainland for her community work which included establishing the GO BUS for the Silver Harbour Seniors Centre.

VIDEO: Helping Seniors 2010

Driving Services: Help for Seniors of Western New York

NEW YORK STATE - Help for Seniors of Western New York provides a variety of services for seniors and their families. These services include helping seniors finding a place to live including assisted living, eldercare counseling,  and a transportation service. Their Personal Valet Service provides more than simple transport. They transport in sedans and will accompany, assist, and supervise during personal excursions. In the following video the founder of Help for Seniors WNY, Tim Stevenson discusses with a group of seniors some of the transportation options available in Amherst and other areas of Western New York State.

VIDEOS: Options for Senior Transportation

Profile: Acti-Kare Responsive In-Home Care

HOME HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION - Acti-Kare Responsive In-Home Care is a national non-medical home care franchise with locations across the United States. Transportation to medical appointments and other outings is included as part of the companionship services offered by Acti-Kare Responsive In-Home Care. Staff may also be available to run errands for clients as well. Note that some offices may not be able to provide these services due to state license requirements. For more information visit the Acti-Kare Responsive In-Home Care website.

VIDEO: Acti-Kare Responsive In-Home Care Commercial

June 1, 2012

Driving Services: Special Care Transportation, Palm Beach Co., Florida

FLORIDASpecial Care Transportation is a company based in Delray Beach, Florida that has been providing assisted ambulatory transportation to seniors in the Delray Beach, Boca, and Boynton area of Palm Beach County, Florida  since 1996. They speciallize in medically oriented trips, such as to doctor appointments, therapy, day surgery, as well as other personal errands and special occasions.  The drivers are themselves seniors and the vehicles are full size sedans.

VIDEO: Medical Transportation Boca, Delray Beach, Boynton