Owatonna Hospital Foundation—as part of a pilot program—is now offering vouchers to assist patients in paying for transportation after they leave the hospital.
“We understand that transportation can be a barrier,” said Elizabeth Keck, In-Reach Program care coordinator, Owatonna Hospital. “We want individuals to be able to get the care they need, without having to worry about how they might get home afterwards.”
More than $4,000 was approved to launch this pilot program, which assists patients that face challenges such as not being able to afford transportation home or who are discharged during weekends, holidays or “odd hours.”
“To assist in getting patients home, it can cost upwards of $300 if they live outside city limits,” said Keck. “This can create additional unneeded stress and anxiety; plus, those who have mental health issues or just had a procedure can be put in vulnerable or unsafe situations, when they don’t have transportation lined up.”
In 2016, Owatonna Hospital spent several thousand dollars on taxis and bus tickets for patient transportation needs. Through the generosity of Owatonna Hospital Foundation and its donors, these costs were assumed. Medical Assistance covers some of the transportation cost, if the patient is going to a clinic appointment; however, “a ride home from the hospital does not fall into this category,” said Natalie Ginter, director, Owatonna Hospital Foundation.
“We’re currently working with local transportation providers to begin accepting our vouchers as payment, then invoice us for actual costs,” adds Ginter. “A ride home should never be the reason why someone decides to not get the care they need.”
Owatonna Hospital Foundation is looking for contributions to help sustain the patient transportation program. If you’re interested in learning more or would like to contribute, email OwatonnaFoundation@allina.com or mail donations to: Owatonna Hospital Foundation, 2250 NW 26th Street, Owatonna, MN 55060.