VPAS To Offer Out-Of-Area Medical Rides

As part of a goal to support mobility to medical appointments for isolated rural adults 60 years and older, Valley Program for Aging Services will begin offering round trip transportation to out-of-county health facilities on Dec. 3.

Specifically, VPAS will provide handheld door-through-door assistance to qualified Rockbridge County residents three days a week using an accessible minivan to the following locations:

• Augusta Health

• Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital

• Lewis Gale Medical Center

• Salem Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Medical Center

• University of Virginia Medical Center.

There is a nominal fee of $10 to $20, depending on the location, to help defray the cost of the trip.

More than 40 percent of Rockbridge County residents are older adults. As the county ages, more adults are giving up the keys and lack transportation to the medical appointments that will keep them healthy. VPAS already provides rides within the county to medical appointments, grocery stores and other life-necessary destinations. This new transport service will help meet increased demand for transportation to medical facilities outside of the immediate area, according to Laura Hotinger, director of senior services for Buena Vista, Lexington, Rock-bridge and Bath.

Nearly 20 percent of referrals made from Rockbridge Area Health Clinic for people to go to medical appointments at Augusta Medical Center, UVa Medical Center or Carilion Medical Center are not kept because seniors do not have transportation, said Hotinger. “The reality of the health care landscape today is that more older adults must travel longer distances for the care they need,” she said. “This transportation program will help ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors have the resources they need to live their best lives.”

To be eligible, passengers must be 60 years or older, lack other means of transportation, reside in Rockbridge County, Buena Vista or Lexington, have a medical appointment at one of the designated medical campuses, and not receive Medicaid benefits.

To schedule a ride, contact Laynee Knick, VPAS administrative specialist, at 261-7474 between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The News-Gazette

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