goHunterdon’s Patient Transportation Program reached an impressive milestone last month having facilitated 575 rides for older adults and other vulnerable patients to get to healthcare appointments since it began in 2020. Funded by a grant from the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, the program addresses the needs of patients who have been identified as transportation dependent and at risk of missing appointments. Rides are provided free of charge, using Uber and Lyft.
Patients are referred to goHunterdon by Care Coordinators at Hunterdon Healthcare affiliated practices. The average age of participating patients is 70 years. The majority of patients live alone, with an adult disabled child, or with a spouse or caregiver who is unable to drive. “The patients who are referred to the program have no other source of transportation to get to non-emergency medical appointments,” says Tara Shepherd, goHunterdon Executive Director.
Most participating patients required multiple rides to recurring appointments for ongoing care/follow up. goHunterdon staff process ride requests from Care Coordinators, schedule rides through Uber or Lyft, communicate with patients in advance of the rides and monitor the rides in real time to ensure that patients have a comfort level with the program. “Due to the physical limitations of many of the older riders, we want to be sure that we make sure that they have successfully accessed the vehicle and get to the medical office and back home safely,” says Marina Bartelli, goHunterdon Mobility Coordinator.
“The program has been such a wonderful experience for my patients. They would not have made it into the office if it was not for this program. The patients have been able to follow up with me directly, which in turn helps with overall compliance with their health plans,” says Amy Gross, BSN, RN, Medical Home Care Coordinator, Hunterdon Healthcare Partners
“goHunterdon is grateful to the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey for recognizing this need in our community and for their ongoing financial support of this innovative solution,” says Tara Shepherd, goHunterdon Executive Director. “The program expands transportation options in the county and improves access to healthcare for patients of Hunterdon Healthcare.”
The mission of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is to support organizations that make New Jersey healthier. Since its formation in 2004, The Foundation has awarded more than 1,500 grants and more than $56.9 million in support of non-profit organizations that have improved public health and the quality of life in New Jersey.
For more information about the Hunterdon Healthcare Transportation Access Project, contact Tara Shepherd, firstname.lastname@example.org.