Long term care facilities help fill senior transportation gap
Anyone who has been stuck for a ride knows the frustration of not being able to get where you need to go. Many older and disabled people feel that way much of the time.
Being unable to get to a doctor appointment, the grocery store, church, or a friend diminishes independence and quality of life. To address the need, some providers have begun providing transportation services to people outside their facilities.
Mission-oriented not-for-profits are leading the way. A report from the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging profiling providers offering home and community-based services found that about half provide some type of transportation.
But they're not doing it purely out of the goodness of their hearts. Offering transportation services, says Edgar Rivas, director of home and community-based services for AAHSA, is a way for providers to diversify services, increase marketability, enhance revenue stream, and improve social accountability.
Scott Burpee, CEO for valley Vista Care Services in St. Maries, Idaho, a not-for-profit CCRC that will net more than $16,000 this year from its community transportation services, believes that many providers are missing an opportunity. "The ability to do [transportation] is there," says Burpee. "If ALFs would schedule their vehicles better, they could be serving other people in the community and making money, instead of having their vehicles sitting around waiting for one person."
Besides that, it's excellent marketing. "The intangible PR piece of it is hard to quantify for people," Burpee notes.
Don't expect to make a killing, cautions Burpee. Because transportation is a high-cost item, it's hard to realize large profit margins. "There are lots of expenses that go with this business," he says.
But the …