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New company to help with medical transportation in Janesville

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JAMES P. LEUTE
August 30, 2008
— Mercy in Motion is history, but a new company will enter the medical transportation business in Janesville starting Tuesday.

Mercy Health System said earlier this summer that is will discontinue Mercy in Motion, which provides Mercy patients with transportation to medical appointments. That announcement triggered community concern that other services would not be able to help the Mercy patients.


In an effort to fill that void, Janesville-based Mercy has been working with community transportation services in Janesville to help its patients find alternative transportation to and from medical appointments.


Starting Tuesday, DRS Medical, a division of Delavan Rescue Squad, will provide transportation services to Janesville-area residents. Mercy and DRS have had a relationship for many years in Walworth County.


The service will be door-to-door, meaning the passenger will be assisted from their home to the door of destination. Rides will be available from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, anywhere in Janesville and Rock County. Saturday appointments are also available.


“Delavan Rescue Squad is excited to begin offering door-to-door transportation services for Janesville residents who need to get to and from their medical appointments,” said Todd Bluhm, DRS van division manager. “By using Mercy’s vans and expanding our services to Mercy’s patients, we ensure the best possible care for our community.”


Mercy in Motion had been running seven vehicles in Janesville.


DRS Medical is buying three of those vehicles with immediate plans to run two vans in the Janesville area, said John Kramer of DRS.


In Janesville, the one-way cost will be $15 per patient, with mileage charges added for trips outside the city, Kramer said.


Mercy’s in-town, roundtrip rate had been $6.


Kramer said that while the DRS cost is higher than Mercy’s, it’s identical to Access Medical Transport, which also transports patients in Janesville.


An Access spokesman said Friday his company’s rates in Janesville are $14 for the first 5 miles and $1.70 per mile thereafter.


When it announced its Mercy in Motion cut, Mercy also said it was eliminating its Mercy Adult Day Center and its residence hospice program.


Mercy attributed the cuts to difficult economic conditions that include the pending closure of the General Motors assembly plant and the expected arrival of a competing hospital and medical complex.


Mercy's Adult Day Center offers a structured, safe and stimulating environment to adults, who might be socially isolated or have difficulty living independently.


Kandu Industries, a Janesville-based organization that provides work opportunities for disabled adults, has stepped forward to accommodate the patients who were displaced from Mercy’s day center.


Mercy has said it will continue to serve the one patient in its residence hospice program in the Mercy Assisted Care building on Mineral Point Avenue.


While Mercy is not accepting new patients there, it will continue to offer home hospice services to new patients.


TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS

Medical transportation services in Rock County include:


-- Rock County Council on Aging, Rock County Specialized Transit: Van transportation services to all facilities within Rock County that are equipped to handle wheelchairs. Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Trips can be scheduled by calling (608) 757-5054.


-- Rock County Council on Aging, Volunteer Driver RIDES Program: A volunteer driver escort program for medical appointments outside of Rock County. Boundaries are Madison, Milwaukee, Monroe and Rockford, Ill. Trips can be scheduled by calling (608) 757-5054.


-- Janesville Transit System: JTS offers regular bus service from 6:15 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Friday, and from 8:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. on Saturdays on six routes inside Janesville and the Beloit-Janesville Express that operates weekdays between the two cities. Buses are accessible to disabled persons, including those in wheelchairs. Dial-A-Ride para-transit van service is available for persons with disabilities who are unable to use regular buses. Trips can be scheduled by calling (608) 755-3150.


-- Van Galder Bus Co.: Service in Janesville/Beloit offers wheelchair accessible charter vehicles. For more information and service hours, call (608) 752-5407 or 1-800-747-0994.


-- DRS Medical: For scheduling transportation with DRS, call (608) 756-8201 or 1-866-996-3729.


-- Access Medical Transport: To schedule transportation or get more information, call (608) 214-5047.



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