Ridgeview Medical Center understands that patients often face challenges finding transportation to and from appointments. That’s why the hospital funds WeCAB (Community Area Busing) transportation service, a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that provides low-cost transport service to area residents. Ridgeview provided $20,000 in 2011 to help fund the WeCAB pilot program after a survey showed that half of local residents polled had trouble making it to their appointments at Ridgeview due to transportation issues.
“Ridgeview is committed to helping meet the needs of communities and patients we serve, including providing assistance in getting them to the clinic and access to the health care services they need,” said Robert Stevens, Ridgeview president and CEO. “We’re very proud to support this important community program to benefit area residents.”
Since October 2011, WeCAB has provided nearly 3,100 rides – totaling more than 32,000 miles – to area residents. There are 246 active riders in the program, with an average age of 65.4 years.
WeCAB is not a replacement for existing transportation but is designed to supplement public transportation. It operates on a system of a suggested donation of $2.50 per one-way trip. Drivers are volunteers and drive their own vehicles. There have been 43 volunteer drivers since the program began, with more than 1,660 volunteer hours provided.
The WeCAB transportation service was named a Program of Promise by Jackson Healthcare of Atlanta, Ga., for its work addressing underserved community health and prevention needs. There were 191 hospital community and charitable service programs nominated for the 2012 Hospital Charitable Service Awards; 10 received the awards and four others, including WeCAB, received the Program of Promise designation and $2,500.