News Release, Platinum PR
HUGHESVILLE, Md. — Wheels to Wellness helps patients in need of roundtrip transportation for non-emergency medical appointments. Officially launched in August 2018, Wheels to Wellness began as an agreement among Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland (TCCSMD), The Arc Southern Maryland (The Arc SoMD) and The Center for Life Enrichment (TCLE). The program has provided more than 1,000 trips in its first six months.
In 2018, TCCSMD, The Arc SoMD and TCLE entered into a partnership for the pilot program. The program was narrowed to St. Mary’s and Calvert counties, with The Arc SoMD and TCLE acting as transportation providers, while requests were controlled by medical centers MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital and CalvertHealth.
The project works by combining hospital and human service providers to help people with disabilities or who are low-income find reliable transportation. Prior to the patient’s appointment, hospital staff request a ride through the “Ride Roundtrip” software program. The Arc SoMD acts as the dispatcher and accepts the ride and will either assign it to The Arc SoMD or TCLE. The day of the ride, the patient is transported from his or her home to the appointment, and if needed, transported home.
The Wheels to Wellness project began as a way to address transportation challenges for elderly or low-income populations, especially those who live in rural communities. Wheels to Wellness offered 46 rides in its first month, and more than doubled the services by September 2018, with 120 rides.
TCCSMD committed $60,000 for the projects to fund mileage rate charges, while The Arc agreed to commit to $100,000 for staffing costs, vehicle expenses and other direct costs. By January 2019, 11,703.8 miles were driven, of which 1,042 were one-way rides. Mileage costs were $67,983.
A 2014 study published by The Gerontologist reported that 3.8 million Americans miss a medical appointment each year due to transportation issues. And about 1 in 5 people miss non-emergency appointments because patients could not get to the appointment.
To find out more about Wheels to Wellness, visit https://tccsmd.org.