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Geisinger Unveils New Transportation Program

GEISINGER MEDICAL CENTER — Some of us take for granted everyday things like driving to our doctors’ appointments and to the pharmacy. But for people...

GEISINGER MEDICAL CENTER -- Some of us take for granted everyday things like driving to our doctors' appointments and to the pharmacy. But for people who cannot get to these places on their own, sometimes skipping them altogether is their solution and Geisinger Health System is trying to prevent that.

Every day, thousands of people go to appointments at one of Geisinger's facilities. Also every day, dozens of people miss their appointments. In fact, officials with Geisinger say close to 150,000 people missed their appointments last year.

That's why Geisinger is unveiling a new transportation program.

"Design solutions for transportation that really afford individuals easy and convenient access to get to their doctor's office," said Janet Tomcavage.

Tomcavage is chief of population health at Geisinger. She tells Newswatch 16 the transportation program will work with close to 100 community agencies to come up with rides for patients.

"It will allow individuals to see their doctor and, hopefully, get to their medical problems at a sooner time rather than end up in the emergency department."

The ride services will pick up the patients at home. Geisinger will use various methods like local transportation, Uber, Lyft and Rabbit Transit, which is what Susan Hughes of Coal Township uses. Hughes looks forward to the new program because she does not drive.

"I have trouble with my knees so it would be easier if I just got brought right here and right home with no stops," Hughes said.

Geisinger staff will refer patients to the program. The rides are then coordinated through the community organizations.

"They've been instrumental in this process and the implementation and planning and will be really helpful in measuring the outcomes and determine the success of this program," said associate vice president of health and wellness Allison Hess.

The pilot program is being unveiled next month in the Scranton and Danville areas.