Medicaid seniors have medical transportation option in county
As operators of a Medicaid-contracted home health care agency since 2006, the owners of Adaptive Personal Care Services Inc. in Los Lunas, were concerned about the lack of transportation options for senior citizens in Valencia County.
They were particularly disturbed by the difficulty some of their home care clients had getting to medical appointments.
In 2009, they decided to do something about it, and late last year, after all the paperwork and Medicaid approvals were completed, Adaptive Non-Emergency Transportation Inc. was born to provide transport to medically necessary appointments for the elderly.
“We started it because of the needs of the rural elderly,” said Noemi Romero, who, with Idarmis Aragon, founded the home health agency, and then, with Carlos Marrufo, the transportation service. The three owners are related by birth or marriage, and all have a medical background.
“We were surprised when we found out there was no (transportation) service,” said Marrufo, who runs the transportation component of the business.
Before Adaptive began its service, the elderly were dependent on friends, relatives or Albuquerque transportation services to get to the doctor’s office or other medical appointments.
“It’s a lot more economical (for Medicaid) for us to transport them than for an Albuquerque company coming down here,” Romero said, although Marrufo noted that by law clients have the choice of who they want to transport them.
He said Adaptive gets a lot of repeat business and referrals because of its friendly, well-trained drivers and its emphasis on customer service.
The company currently operated three vehicles, two sedans and a van, and is planning to add a fourth soon, most likely one that is fully handicapped accessible, including a wheelchair lift.
Adaptive has three full-time drivers and one part-time, and, along with the more than 140 employees of the home health care agency, all are from Valencia County.
Anyone who is qualified as a Medicaid recipient is automatically qualified to make use of the transportation service without further application and at no cost, but the service is only available for medically necessary transportation, not, for instance, for trips to the grocery store.
At the moment, the service is only available to Medicaid recipients, and those covered by Molina Health Care and Lovelace Salud, Marrufo said, but at some point self-pays and those with private insurance will be eligible.
He said drivers typically will each have two to three transports per day, and average about 250 miles of driving each per week.
Where possible, multiple clients might be transported on the same run, but Marrufo said while the service tries to operate as efficiently as possible, the owners don’t want clients having to sit around for hours waiting on other clients, so scheduling is coordinated with that in mind.
Typically, he said, clients give the agency about 48 hours notice of their need for transportation, “but we can usually handle last-minute add-ons.”
And although the office hours for the service are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, transportation can be arranged for off-hours as well.
In addition to Valencia County, Adaptive offers some service in Torrance and Bernalillo counties.
The office of Adaptive Non-Emergency Transportation is located at 472 Courthouse Road in Los Lunas. Information or transportation requests are available at 505-865-6000.
Information on the transportation and home health services is available on the website, www.AdaptivePCS.com.
Contact Dana Bowley