PRTC is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a second grant from the Potomac Health Foundation to continue providing qualifying eastern Prince William County residents with non-emergency medical transportation.
PRTC’s Wheels-to-Wellness program provides participants with rechargeable payment cards that can be used for health-related trips in taxis and wheelchair-accessible commercial vehicles. Each participant may use the card for a limited number of trips each month, the number of which is determined during the application process. Health-related trips include visits to hospitals, therapists, pharmacies and other medical establishments.
“This second grant will enable PRTC to sustain the Wheels-to-Wellness program through the end of fiscal year 2014, a program which is already having a positive impact in our community,” said PRTC Executive Director Alfred Harf.
Karen Mills, Wheels-to-Wellness project manager, has seen that positive impact first-hand. Mills said she recently spoke with a woman who is on a fixed income and requires dialysis three times a week. The woman is able to save $75 per week in transportation costs thanks to this program, Mills said.
Aside from the cost savings, many participants also are grateful for the independence they have gained. Wheels-to-Wellness enables participants to schedule their own transportation at a time that’s convenient for them rather than having to ask someone for a ride.
“There’s freedom to do it yourself, which is very important to us older people,” said participant Kathy Schnur. “If you can do it yourself, you feel better. There’s a sense of empowerment.”
Wheels-to-Wellness launched in spring 2013 with an initial $362,673 grant from the Potomac Health Foundation. The second grant totals $43,940. Currently, 152 people have qualified for the program.
Wheels-to-Wellness was created after PRTC and the Prince William Area Agency on Aging conducted a mobility management plan in 2011 to examine the mobility challenges confronting
seniors, people with disabilities and those in low-income households. One of the plan’s recommendations was to augment PRTC’s existing transit services with a transportation voucher program to make taxis more affordable for health-related trips.
To qualify for the program, applicants must be:
- 80 years old or older; OR
- Disabled as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act; OR
- Have income that is no greater than 1.9 times the federal poverty level, and not be eligible for Medicaid’s non-emergency medical transportation.
- In addition, the applicant must reside in one of the following ZIP codes: 20112, 22025, 22026, 22125, 22134, 22172, 22191, 22192 or 22193. All these ZIP codes are included in the coverage area of the Potomac Health Foundation.
The Wheels-to-Wellness payment card will cover up to $25 per one-way trip for those using cabs and up to $50 per one-way trip for those who require wheelchair-accessible non-emergency transportation. Participants are responsible for paying any remaining balance for their travel as well as a $3 co-pay for each one-way trip. Participants also are responsible for making their own travel arrangements. Currently, Yellow Cab Company and Manassas Cab Company are accepting the payment cards.
Wheels-to-Wellness application forms are available at the PRTC Transit Center and certain local government service agencies and also can be downloaded in English and Spanish at the PRTC website, PRTCtransit.org. For more information, contact Karen Mills at 703-580-6177 or the PRTC Customer Service Department at (703) 730-6664.