November 16, 2013

Wheelchair Accessibility at the Sochi Winter Olympics

RUSSIA - The 22nd Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place next year from February 7 to the 23, in Sochi, Russia. The following video follows a group of wheelchairs from Sochi as they test out the wheelchair accessibility at various venues. The Olympic Park is equipped with lifts and anti-slip ramps that provide access to designated seating to view events. A fleet of wheelchair accessible buses and vans will provide transport from Sochi to the Olympic Park. The 2014 Winter Paralympics will be held from March 7 to March 16, 2014 at the same locations.

September 29, 2013

Non-Profit Spotlight: Belvedere Heights Volunteer Transportation

ONTARIO - Belvedere Heights Volunteer Transportation Program is a service of  Belvedere Heights, a non-profit organization that provides long term care, residences for seniors, and community support services in Parry Sound, Ontario. Their Community Support Services provides a variety of programs such as Meals on Wheels, Senior Safekeeping, and the Volunteer Transportation which provides rides for eligible residents in the local community 18 years and older who have limited mobility or are wheelchair users. It is a door-to-door service that utilizes a fleet of regular and wheelchair accessible vehicles that are operated by a team of over 20 fully screened and approved volunteer drivers. Belvedere Heights is able to offer Community Support Services though the support of local community donors and organizations, as well as the North East Local Integrated Network from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

September 15, 2013

NEMT: Medical Transport Company

NEVADA - Medical Transport Company (MTC) is a full service Non-Emergency Medical Transportion (NEMT) company that provides services throughout the entire Las Vegas Valley including Henderson and Boulder City. They also also licensed to provide long distance NEMT transports throughout Nevada, Arizona, California, and Utah. Services include oxygen, bedside transfers, and bariatric transport chairs up to 500 lbs. All their drivers are professionally trained and CPR certified. Their vehicle fleet is equipped with GPS and can accommodate both wheelchair and stretchers. In the following video the Marketing Liaison at MTC goes into further detail about how they are of benefit to seniors in the community. To find similar companies in that area, go to Nevada NEMT Services.

September 2, 2013

Air Transport: Angel MedFlight

AIR MEDICAL TRANSPORT - Angel MedFlight is a U.S based international air ambulance service. They transport patients both domestically and worldwide suffering from almost any medical condition. Their fleet of medically equipped jets are operated by a crew of at least two pilots, and staffed by teams of experienced medical professionals; one of which will be either a critical care flight nurse or a physician. Every patient is assigned a Registered Nurse who acts as a case manager, coordinating all ground and air transport and working with both the sending and receiving facilities, as well as acquiring any necessary medical reports and obtaining insurance authorization. The following video presents a real-life example of the high standards and personalized care that all Angel MedFlight patients and their loved ones can expect. To find more services, go to the Air Medical Transport Directory.

August 17, 2013

Profile: GREAT Community Transport

AUSTRALIA - GREAT Community Transport is a non-profit organization that provides transport services for eligible disabled persons and the elderly in the Blue Mountains-Penrith Valley area outside of Sydney, Australia. It started in 2004 after two local organizations amalgamated to provide better and more efficient service. Their volunteer drivers and care attendants provide transport to a variety of social and medical destinations. Besides donations, they also receive public funding - in particular to provide access to healthcare within the region. The 2nd video below, features a representative from GREAT Community Transport speaking at a NSW Health public forum in regards to non-emergency patient transport funding.

August 11, 2013

Profile: Tumby Bay Community Bus

AUSTRALIA - The Tumby Bay Community Bus is a service provided by the District Council of Tumby Bay. The area of Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia is home to 3000 residents, 37% of which are now 55+ in age. Responding to these changing demographics, the local government recognized the need for a community bus service that could benefit the growing elderly population that find if difficult or impossible to provide their own transportation. Volunteers drive and assistance eligible passengers with a new 25 seat accessible Toyota bus. Local trips are free of charge, and trips outside of the the local district are kept at an affordable rate. The following video was produced by the Local Government Association of South Australia.

August 5, 2013

Non-Profit: Rural Transit Service

NEW YORK STATE - Rural Transit is a local non-profit transportation service for the elderly and disabled in Buffalo and Erie County, NY. It is part of a wide range of services supported by Erie County to provide health, nutrition, income maintenance, and social services for local eligible residents. Rural Transit receives financial assistance from the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. The volunteer driver featured in the following video is shown providing transport services to the suburban areas of Boston, Colden, Eden, and Orchard Park near Buffalo. Find more supplemental transportation services in New York State.

July 28, 2013

NEMT: Providence Transportation

NORTH CAROLINA - Providence Transportation provides non-emergency medical transportation throughout the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina. Founded in 2010, it is a family owned business based in Thomasville, NC. They currently operate a fleet of 7 vehicles that range in size from wheelchair accessible minivans to a 15 seat passenger bus. Their trained professional drivers provide transport services to ambulatory or wheelchair users for medical appointments, hospital transfers, community events, and outings. Providence Transportation works closely with many of the area's medical and age care facilities. To find more service providers in that region, go to my North Carolina NEMT Services page.

July 20, 2013

NEMT: Garay Medical Transportation

CALIFORNIA - Garay Medical Transportation is a non-emergency medical transportation company based in Baldwin Park, California. They provide both wheelchair and gurney (stretcher) transport services. Baldwin Park is located in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County. To find more services in that area, go to my California NEMT Directory.

July 7, 2013

Accessible Cabs: Quality Limo & Taxi

ILLINOIS - Quality Limo and Taxi Inc. provides transportation 24/7 throughout the Champaign–Urbana Metropolitan Area. They specialize in taxi and limo services. Customers also have the option of ordering a wheelchair accessible taxi or limousine for anything from routine local medical appointments to out of town personal trips. Find more Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Services for Illinois and other locations across the United States and Canada.

June 23, 2013

Innovations: MST Special Medical Medical Trips Program

CALIFORNIA - MST Special Medical Trips Program is a unique non-emergency medical transportation initiative of Monterey-Salinas Transit. The goal of the program is to help those in the community that may not have any other means of affordable transport, to access specialized medical services not available in the local area. The service is available only 2 days out of the month. One trip goes to medical clinics in the San Jose area, and the other day is to San Francisco. The service is available to Monterey County residents on a 'first-come, first serve' reservation basis. The same-day round trip is $40 and discounts do not apply. Abuse of the system or failure to cancel may result in suspension of riding privileges. Related Post: MST Rides.

June 16, 2013

Vehicle Conversions: FlexiFold Ramp

UNITED KINGDOM - FlexiFold Ramp is a new product for wheelchair users from Allied Mobility. It is designed to to meet the specifications for vehicle conversions in the UK. The ramp has a low incline which makes for easier and safer entry and exit. It's manual operation means that it is an affordable option. One of the unique features, as shown in the following video is the way that the design is flexible enough to accommodate full seating capacity of the vehicle and not comprimise storage space when not being used by a wheelchair user. The FlexiFold Ramp can easily adapted to such vehicles as the Peugeot Horizon and Volkswagen Vista.

June 2, 2013

Non-Profit Spotlight: Soar Valley Bus

UNITED KINGDOM - Soar Valley Bus is a volunteer operated non-profit transport service that provides transport for those in the community who are unable to use public transport in Nottinghamshire County, UK. It has been providing services in the local community for approximately 30 years. It receives partial funding support from the local Nottinghamshire County Council both for operations and capital improvements, such as purchases of new wheelchair accessible vehicles. As shown, in the following video, the service is a much appreciated by the many seniors and wheelchair users who depend upon the Soar Vally Bus to get to everything from social visits and shopping to medical appointments. Featured in the video is Operations Manager, Jean Corliss. In a 2011 press release she said of the service: "Our aim has always been to identify the transport needs of everyone within the community and find a way to fulfill those needs."

May 25, 2013

Corpus Christi RTA Offering Free WiFi on Paratransit Buses

TEXAS - Since 2011, Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) has been offering free wireless internet for riders on transit and paratransit buses. Offering free WiFi is part of an overall effort to encourage ridership in Corpus Christi, Texas. When the program was announced, transit officials pointed out that it would be particularly useful for the significant number of passengers that are students of Del Mar College and Texas A&M University (Corpus Christi Campus). RTA performs almost 6 million passenger trips per year.

May 20, 2013

Training: VTD Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Drive Education Video

VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA - As public agencies turn more and more to the involvement of wheelchair accessible taxis to meet growing demand and costs, it become all that more important to provide specialized training in the transport of wheelchair users. Unfortunately there is a great deal of inconsistency in the quality of education throughout the industry. In some jurisdictions there is little or none, and often the responsibility is left solely to the taxi companies themselves with no other form of accountability. To address this problem, the Department of Transport in Victoria, Australia has produced in cooperation with the Victorian Taxi Directorate (VTD), a comprehensive educational video for drivers that covers all aspects of their responsibilities. It starts with the basics of courtesy, communications, and safety that should be universal. It then goes into the aspects of the service that are unique to the VTD such as the Talking Taxis Communication Boards and the Multi Purpose Taxi Program. By making this video available online and included as part of the VTD website it also informs passengers of the level of service they should expect.

May 12, 2013

Paratransit Profile: MST Rides

CALIFORNIA - MST Rides is the ADA Paratransit service of Monterey-Salinas Transit. The service is funded by the County of Monterey. It is a shared ride wheelchair accessible door-to-door transportation service operating in Monterey County, California. It is available on a reservation only basis for those individuals in the community that are unable to use the fixed-route transit. MST Rides operates within the designated service area of MST Transit which includes the Greater Monterey and Salinas areas as far south as Paso Robles and Big Sur, and as far north as Santa Cruz and San Jose.

May 6, 2013

Amind Maxi Taxi Conversions

Amind Maxi Taxi Conversions is an Australian company that specializes in the retrofit of vans for commercial use as a wheelchair accessible taxi. Some of the products they offer and install are of their own design. These purpose-built products include the sidestep (a retractible foldout step to aid ambulatory passengers), a variety of folding seats, a floor conversion built to commercial standards with built-in wheelchair lock system, and an assortment of other products. Amind Maxi Taxi Conversions is based in Brisbane, Queensland.

April 28, 2013

Profile: Caring Hearts and Hands

NORTH CAROLINA - Caring Hearts and Hands is a home healthcare agency based in Asheville N.C. Besides providing seniors home care and companion services, they also offer services for post-surgery support, errands, cleaning, laundry, moving, organizing, maintenance, yard work, and transportation. As shown in the following video, their non-emergency medical transportation service can accommodate ambulatory customers as well as wheelchair users. It is available for private trips locally or out of state. To find more services in North Carolina check my directory pages for Non-Emergency Medical Transportation and for Home Health Care.

April 20, 2013

Non-Prifit Spotlight: Surf City Seniors on the Go!

CALIFORNIA - Surf City Seniors on the Go! is a door-to-door transportation service provided by the Huntington Beach Senior Services Outreach Program. The service is for eligible residents 55+ that reside in the City of Huntington Beach, Orange County, California. It operates weekdays, bookings suggested made 5-days in advance, and is available at 'No Cost', but support is welcome. The fleet consists of sedans, vans, and buses. Buses are wheelchair accessible, and are operated by staff drivers and volunteers escorts. The following video shows the wide range of destinations that seniors in this seaside community of nearly 200,000 people can access through Surf City Seniors on the Go! The transportation service is shown at the 4:00, 6:38, and 9:25 min. marks in the video. To find similar services available in California, go to my Supportive Transportation page.

April 13, 2013

Non-Profit Spotlight: Get Up & Go

CALIFORNIA - Peninsula Jewish Community Center (PJCC)  is a non-profit organization serving San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties with many community services including Get Up & Go: a low cost door-to-door transportation program for older adults who are no longer able to drive. Volunteer drivers and passenger escorts transport eligible riders to and from medical appointment, social outings, shopping trips, and other senior programs provided by PJCC. To find similar services available in California, go to my Supportive Transportation page.

March 3, 2013

NEMT Providers: Priority Patient Transfer Service, Ottawa

ONTARIO - Priority Patient Transfer Service (PPTS) in a non-emergency medical transportation company based in Ottawa, Ontario. They provide local and long distance patient transfer services throughout the Greater Ottawa Area and Eastern Ontario. With their professionally trained personnel and fleet of ambulance type vehicles, wheelchair accessible vans, and sedans; PPTS can provide doo-to-door private patient transport that can accommodate their patient's various needs.

PTS: Yorkshire Ambulance Patient Transport Service

UNITED KINGDOM - The Patient Transport Service (PTS) of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service is one of the largest providers of non-emergency medical transportation in the United Kingdom. They provide transport to outpatient clinics and for hospital admittance/discharge for those unable to use public transit or due to their medical condition. Last year PTS provided 962,499 patient journeys. They operate a fleet 467 vehicles and have a staff of 758. The following video features the Unipart Group, a UK logistics consultant that PTS worked with to improve operation and service efficiency.

February 18, 2013

PTS: St. John Ambulance Cymru-Wales Patient Transport Service

WALES - The Patient Transport Service division of St. John Ambulance Cymru-Wales provides assisted ambulatory, stretcher, and wheelchair accessible non-emergency medical transportation for more than 20,000 patients each year throughout Wales. Services are provided in conjunction with National Health Service Trusts, Social Services, insurance companies, or can be arranged as private-pay trips. The Patient Transport Service operates more than 60 vehicles including ambulances, wheelchair accessible cars, and a standard car service. Staff are qualified in First Aid and have been trained in use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), oxygen and Entonox gasses, and in manual patient lifting and transfers. St. John Ambulance Cymru-Wales is a non-profit organization.

February 17, 2013

PTS: Scottish Ambulance Patient Transport Service

SCOTLAND - The Patient Transport Service division of the Scottish Ambulance Service provides assisted ambulatory and wheelchair accessible non-emergency medical transportation to and from hospitals for nearly 1.3 million patients each year throughout Scotland. Eligible patients with medical need or limited mobility are transported to and from healthcare appointments or for hospital admission/discharge. These services are provided for through the National Health Service Scotland.

February 13, 2013

New Wheelchair Accessibility Program for NYC's Taxi of Tomorrow

NEW YORK - When New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow project was first announced back in 2010, officials projected a timeline where the first of the new taxi's would be on the streets of Manhattan by 2014. Although not all of the new cabs will be wheelchair accessible as many had hoped, the first of the new fleet is on schedule to be in service by next year. Ahead of this, the Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities in conjunction with the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission launched a new program to provide improved wheelchair-accessible taxi dispatching services. This includes a centralized service providing on-demand transportation 24/7, 365 days a year with no advance reservations necessary. There will be multiple ways to request rides: Call 311, a direct phone line, text a request, mobile app, and online at Accessible Dispatch. Wheelchair passengers will pay the normal metered fare, there will be no extra costs. All drivers of wheelchair accessible taxis will be required to participate in the accessible dispatch program. The accessible cabs will respond to trips originating in Manhattan and ending in any of the 5 Boroughs, Westchester and Nassau Counties, or the 3 regional airports. 233 of the new wheelchair accessible taxis will be provided by Metro Taxi of New Haven, Connecticut.

February 10, 2013

PROFILE: Morris Area Paratransit System (MAPS)

NEW JERSEY - Morris Area Paratransit System (MAPS) is the curb-to-curb wheelchair accessible and assisted ambulatory public transport service in Morris County, New Jersey for residents 60 years or older, as well as individuals 18 years or older that have a physical or mental disability. They may also be able to provide transportation for people temporarily disabled by illness or injury. The service is generally free, but users are encouraged to donate $1.00 per round trip. In operation since 1987, MAPS together with the Morris County Seniors Dial-a-Ride provides services throughout the county to medical appointments, work, school, adult day programs, and nursing homes. Recently MAPS invested in a new scheduling system (RouteMatch), which is also utilized by the Morris County Nutrition Project to manage the delivery of meals to the homebound in the community.

February 2, 2013

Milwaukee's Transit Express Converts Paratransit Vehicles to CNG

WISCONSIN - The following video features the president and owner of Transit Express discussing her company's experience with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Transit Express has been for over 30 years and operate a fleet of 140 vehicles. They are a privately owned and operated wheelchair accessible transportation provider based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. State regulations for urban transport providers required that 50% of their new vehicle purchases had to be run on "clean" fuels. To meet these standards they received funding from the Wisconsin Clean Transportation Program (WVTP) to convert 10 paratransit vans to CNG. WCTP is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Clean Cities initiative to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector through the use of alternative fuels, advanced technology vehicles, and fuel economy measures. Additional costs for Transit Express include employing a CNG Certified Mechanic and the installation of both a fast-fill and a slow-fill re-fueling station. The modular re-fueling station shown in the video is manufactured by Greenfield.

January 29, 2013

NEWS: Medicaid NEMT Brokerage Proposed for North Carolina

NORTH CAROLINA - January 24, 2013 - The North Carolina legislatures are considering adopting a transportation brokerage system for the state's Medicaid recipients. If approved, the brokerage would come into effect by the summer of 2013. Transportation is currently provided by the counties, but the proposal would involve an open bidding process that would let in taxi companies to compete for contracts. The following video from ABC-13 News looks at what these changes might mean for the Rutherford County Shuttle and the Medicaid clients who depend on the service. The director of the Rutherford Transit Authority expresses the view that, while it may work well in larger urban areas of the state; rural residents living in Rutherford County will be poorly served by this new system. For more information, read: Taxis for Medicaid Patients?

January 28, 2013

NEMT Resources: eVanGo

SCHEDULING, DISPATCHING, & INVOICING - eVanGo is a multi-platform web-based scheduling, billing, and customer management system for non-emergency medical transportation service providers. With eVanGo you can schedule single and recurring trips, create custom PDF invoices and HIPAA-compliant X12 electronic invoice files, and manage your customers and employees from a single interface. Visit their website to learn moreincluding details regarding pricing and purchasing. eVanGo is a division of Unified Global.

January 20, 2013

NEMT Business Idea #7: Special Needs Chicago's "Companion Calls"

Special Needs Chicago is a non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) company that provides door-to-door wheelchair and ambulatory transport services throughout Chicago and it's suburbs. A key component of their business model includes taking extra measures such as confirmation calls and written correspondence with corporate and private clients to ensure a high quality of service. Taking these extra steps has reduced operational problems such as the number of "no shows", and increased the overall level of customer service.

It was from this particular emphasis on effective multilevel and personalized customer communication that Special Needs Chicago struck upon an innovative opportunity to diversify their NEMT business. They call this service: "Companion Calls". This service offers friendly, supportive telephone calls to homebound elders and disabled individuals in the community.

The idea for Companion Calls came about after Special Needs Chicago received a note of appreciation from a customer who was being transported for chemotherapy thanking them for one of their passenger agents who had been especially supportive. The employee, who worked part-time confirming rides, was herself a Cancer survivor. She had spent personal time on the phone with this customer, lending an ear and giving her support. Over the years of providing transportation, Special Needs Chicago had recognized an often unmet need among many customers and their families to talk: to share frustrations, to join in some friendly conversation, and to be listened to. Knowing this and inspired by their employee's initiative and kindness, they decided to establish the Companion Calls division. 

The 10 minute phone conversations can be scheduled from 1 to 7 times per week, plus special occasions. An email summarizing the conversation is then sent to the designated contact person. So far, Special Needs Chicago has been able to provide this service utilizing existing staff, but as volume increases they expect to hire more companion callers. Because they do not give medical advice, there is no special training required, but a kind and compassionate personality is a must. Companion Calls is a natural extension of the transportation service and for anyone already an NEMT customer, staff continue to chat - at no additional cost.

The customer base of Companion Calls has come mostly through referrals, but some corporate clients such as healthcare facilities following-up on patient care have sought out their services. One area that Special Needs Chicago hopes to develop is in regard to hospital re-admissions. Their goal is to work with major healthcare organizations as part of their protocol for reducing re-admission rates by making Companion Calls to people they deem as high risk for re-admissions.