Orange County Supervisors Approve Pilot Program To Transport Elderly Residents to Medical Appointments
The Orange County Board of Supervisors yesterday approved a $500,000 pilot program to transport frail elderly residents to medical appointments and will select an agency to manage the service on Oct. 22, the Orange County Register reports. Under the Senior Medical Assistance Reimbursement Transportation program, elderly county residents who cannot drive can find a friend or neighbor to drive them to their medical appointments, and the county will reimburse drivers the standard Internal Revenue Service reimbursement rate of 36.5 cents per mile for the service. Family members do not qualify for reimbursement, Pamela Mokler, executive director of the county Office on Aging, said. "And if an elderly person has no one to turn to, we will attempt to find a volunteer," Mokler added. The program will use $250,000 from the county Transportation Authority and $250,000 from the county's share of the national tobacco settlement. "This definitely is the most cost-effective plan, but this also is a pilot. We want to see how effective it can be to do countywide service. It may take several efforts before we can come up with the ideal plan," Mokler said. A study by the county Health Care Agency found that elderly residents require assistance to make trips to medical appointments about 462,000 times per year (Glenn Haas, Orange County Register, 10/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.