With a grant awarded by the Potomac Health Foundation, PRTC has created a new program to provide qualifying eastern Prince William County residents with non-emergency medical transportation.
The 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.
“A mobility management plan PRTC and the completed in 2011 examined the mobility challenges confronting seniors, people with disabilities and low-income households in our area, and recommended several initiatives to address those challenges. One recommended initiative was to augment PRTC’s existing transit services with a transportation voucher program to lessen the cost of taxicab transportation for travel that PRTC’s existing services can’t serve, with health-related travel as the highest priority,” said PRTC Executive Director Alfred H. Harf.
As a result of the study, Wheels-to-Wellness was created. 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, which is funding the first year of operation with a $362,673 grant.
“Wheels-to-Wellness will be a tremendous asset to the community,” said Stephen Batsche, Executive Director of the Potomac Health Foundation. “This program will enable those who are most in need to more easily access medical care and take away some of their financial worries by providing transportation at little to no cost.”
Miriam Shelton of Woodbridge has used her Wheels-to-Wellness rechargeable payment card to fill a prescription and receive exercise therapy at the Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center – activity that was prescribed by her doctor.
“It’s wonderful,” Ms. Shelton said, adding that in the past she has had to ask a friend for rides or use the OmniLink bus. But medical issues have made using the bus difficult, and her friend was recently unavailable so being able to travel independently with her Wheels-to-Wellness card was a pleasant change.
“It really is helpful to me,” she said.
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 PRTC at (703) 730-6664.