(Austin) – Central Health and its affiliate, CommUnityCare Health Centers, launched a new shuttle service pilot to help Elroy and Hornsby Bend residents get to their medical appointments.
Every weekday, vans will shuttle patients between designated pickup locations in Elroy and Hornsby Bend, to and from the Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center.
“One of the biggest barriers keeping people from accessing health care is transportation – they don’t have a reliable way to get there,” said Mike Geeslin, Central Health President and CEO. “This is especially true for Hornsby Bend and Elroy, where there is no public transportation. A free shuttle service is not the ultimate solution by any means, but it’s a step in the right direction that could help up to 30 people or more see a doctor every week.”
Beginning in July, Elroy and Hornsby Bend residents may call 512-978-9901 to reserve a space on the daily shuttles. The first shuttle will pick up Hornsby Bend residents at the La Mexicana Supermercardo on FM 969 at 8 a.m. and return from Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center around 11:30 a.m. The second shuttle will pick up Elroy residents at the Elroy Library at 12:40 p.m. and return by about 4 p.m. Up to two people may accompany each patient, and the vans are wheelchair accessible. For safety reasons, all passengers must be 8-years or older.
Central Health-funded CommUnityCare Health Centers is managing the pilot transportation project, while Family Eldercare, a local nonprofit, is providing and operating a 15-person van. Central Health has allocated $19,000 to fund the pilot project.
“We see a growing health care need in Eastern Travis County,” said Yvonne Camarena, Chief Operations Officer, CommUnityCare Health Centers. “We have to look at a variety of solutions to help connect people with limited resources to health care. Missed appointments are costly for both the health center and of course, our patients. If we can remove this barrier, people have a better chance of obtaining better health.”
CommUnityCare is reserving six appointments daily (30 per week) in its Family Practice Unit at Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center for Elroy and Hornsby Bend residents using the new shuttle service, with flexibility to see more patients if needed.
This pilot transportation project is part of Central Health’s larger strategy to expand health care services in Eastern Travis County. In 2015, Central Health formed the Eastern Travis County Health and Wellness Collaboration—a multidisciplinary team of more than 15 community-based health care and service providers—to address the challenges faced by residents of Eastern Travis County. To ensure the community has a seat at the table, Central Health also created neighborhood advisory committees including one for Austin’s Colony/Hornsby Bend and one for Elroy/Del Valle/Creedmoor.
Days: Monday – Friday through Sept. 30, 2018 (Pilot could be extended if it’s successful)
Morning: Hornsby Bend La Mexican Supermercardo, 14236 FM 969, Austin, TX 78724
Pickup: 8 a.m.
Drop-off: 11:30 a.m.
Afternoon: Elroy Library, 13512 FM 812, Del Valle, TX 78617
Pickup: 12:40 p.m.
Drop-off: 4 p.m.
Future Health Care Service Plans for Elroy, Hornsby Bend, and Austin’s Colony
Central Health, The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, and Travis County Emergency Services District 11 are planning a new health center adjacent to the Travis County ESD 11 Fire Station later this year, which will offer primary, behavioral, and dental care plus pharmacy services.
Central Health plans to open a temporary health center in the Austin’s Colony area later this year, with a permanent health center opening in the Hornsby Bend area by 2020.