In November of last year, CHC/SEK marked a new milestone in medical and general transportation for area residents as the CHC/SEK assumed operations of Ascension/Via Christi’s CareVan transportation service. CareVan has already made over 8,500 trips with over 1,750 riders in less than a year. CareVan went from 200 trips a month to over 1,700 a month and rising.
CareVan was recently recognized by Modivcare, a Medicaid broker, for its outstanding service. Additionally, the program received several awards for its service level. The grading system for each entity is based on time performance, patient/rider satisfaction and completion of trips.
One of the awards includes “A+ Transportation Provider” for being a provider with a 90 percent or better score. Another award includes “Kansas Overall Highest Score”. CareVan had the highest performance rating and score for the state of Kansas, which was 5 percent higher than the next closest provider. CareVan had the highest score of all providers that work with Modivcare and received the “Highest Medicaid Score for Transportation Providers” award.
Additionally, CareVan Transit Program Manager Dee Yount received the “Transit Manager Award” for managing and providing service, assisting new and struggling transportation providers with issues they are having to improve their services, and going above and beyond to complete all certification courses for transportation (he has completed 19 certifications for Federal and State level training).
The program has expanded from Crawford and Cherokee counties and recently began in Bourbon County with Miami, Oklahoma, in the beginning stages of providing services. Soon, it will expand from General Public Transportation only to having a non-emergency medical transportation service and serving as the primary transportation service source for Medicaid in nine counties. The addition will significantly improve the number of riders and billable trips, plus create other opportunities for CHC/SEK to serve new members.
The CareVan staff identify riders with Medicaid, then complete all the billing paperwork and set their trip up to take the stress off of the rider. CareVan also assists with trips currently taken by Community Health Workers (CHW) at clinics. If the patient has Medicaid, CHWs can contact dispatch to see if there is availability to assist with transportation. Medicaid requires a three-day notice for all trips being set up for billing, so it’s encouraged to contact dispatch as soon as possible.
CareVan staff do all the scheduling, driving, and medical billing. The CareVan team includes Yount, Lead Dispatcher Sarah Peterson, Transportation Billing Coordinator Luke Bloomfield, and drivers Bill Crawford, Kim Grigsby, James Tarter, Jamee Schirk, and Larry Wallace.
CareVan is dedicated to providing the best service possible, Yount says.
“We see riders as our guest and refer to them as such,” he says. “When we identify them as a guest, we take the feeling of obligation out and create an environment that is welcoming and supportive of their needs.”
Yount says CareVan is changing the culture in its service area regarding general public transportation and Medicaid transportation by removing the negative stigma that consumes these services.
“We are here to help, improve and support our community however possible,” he says. “With our guests having so many barriers in their lives, we are not going to allow transportation to become one more. Our drivers are trained to direct them to other services and resources that CHC/SEK provides so that everyone has the opportunity to improve the quality of their health through our programs.”
Although CareVan provides rides for anyone needing transportation services, unlike an on-demand taxi service, reservations must be made, and rides are available on a first-come, first-served basis. CareVan provides in-county trips to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, work locations, social outings, and more. There is no charge to patients for the service. Hours vary based on location and need. Rides are scheduled by calling 833-228-7433.
This project is funded by the KDOT Public Transportation Program.