Texas County Memorial Hospital has two new Medivans on the road providing non-emergency transportation for area residents.
The Dodge Caravan vans were purchased with grant funding through the Federal Transit Administration administered by the Missouri Department of Transportation 5317 New Freedom program, which assists with public transportation projects. The hospital paid $14,626 of the $73,132 total cost.
Each van is equipped with a side-entry ramp and a lowered floor to make them handicapped accessible for patients in wheelchairs. One van is configured to hold seven people, and one van is configured to hold five people.
“These vans will get much better gas mileage than our original Medivans, and patients in wheelchairs will be closer to the driver, which is much more personable,” said TCMH chief executive officer Wes Murray.
The Medivan program began in 2005 with the purchase of two wheelchair-accessible full-size vans purchased with a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health.
The vans provide low-cost transportation for non-emergency medical services such as trips to a TCMH doctor or pharmacy. TCMH also uses the vans to provide rides home to patients that need transportation following a hospital stay.
“Residents in rural areas face barriers to healthcare accessibility because of transportation issues,” Murray said. “It has always been a goal of our hospital to try to help patients get the healthcare they need through the Medivan service.”
The Medivan service is $5 per passenger for each one-way ride within the city limits of Houston. Outside the city limits of Houston, the charge is $1 per mile, one-way.
A rider may bring a passenger such as a family member or caregiver with them on the ride to the medical appointment. TCMH does not bill for the Medivan service.
All fees are paid up front with cash.