LOUISVILLE, Ky. and TAMPA, Fla., July 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- What if you wanted to go to the doctor but didn't have a way to get there? That is the reality for millions of Americans. Transportation is a basic requirement for getting the preventive and maintenance care needed to improve health, particularly for those with chronic diseases. In an effort to address this barrier in Hopkins County, WellCare of Kentucky, a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), contributed $3,000 to create a transportation voucher system. The vouchers will offset the cost of transportation to medical and behavioral health appointments, pharmacies, and dental, hearing and vision services.
Partnering with Pennyrile Allied Community Services, Inc. (PACS), a nonprofit community action agency, county residents 18 years or older will be able to use vouchers to be reimbursed for rides within Hopkins County to medical appointments that are not covered by the PACS Medicaid contract.
PACS, which has provided more than 210,000 transportation services in its last fiscal year, is the county's only public transit. Approximately 65 percent of all PACS transportation trips are to medical appointments.
According to AARP, Americans age 65 and older who do not drive make 15 percent fewer trips to the doctor.
"Public transportation is a way for non-drivers, particularly low-income seniors and disabled individuals, to gain access to essential services and activities that improve public health outcomes and reduce health care costs," said Dr. Howard Shaps, medical director for WellCare of Kentucky. "Greater access to health care has been related to better health status, more frequent use of preventive services and lower hospitalization rates."
"It is exciting to partner with other groups and organizations to deliver these much needed services to the public," said Ken Johnston, director of PACS transportation services.
The voucher system was identified as a need by the Hopkins County HealthConnections council. WellCare's HealthConnections model, formed in 2011 to support the social safety net through collaboration with local social service agencies and community leaders, launched the Hopkins County HealthConnections council to address barriers to social services in the community.
PACS is expanding services in Hopkins County, including the upcoming city transit routes for Madisonville. To learn more about the voucher system or to apply for a voucher, contact the PACS transportation office at 270-821-3232.
As of March 31, 2016, WellCare serves approximately 439,000 Medicaid members, 8,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 21,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Kentucky. To learn more about how we care for Kentuckians, watch Brandi's story at http://youtu.be/YwOw5EgeSYo.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. WellCare serves approximately 3.7 million members nationwide as of March 31, 2016. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company's website at www.wellcare.com or view the company's videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.
SOURCE WellCare Health Plans, Inc.