Now Offering Free Transportation to Cedar Falls Patients With New Care-A-Van Service
by Augusta Sires
Patients of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare can now access free transportation to appointments at any Cedar Falls Covenant Clinic office location or at Sartori Memorial Hospital. The free service is called Care-A-Van and is gaining in popularity since it started in July of this year.
Care-A-Van has operated in Waterloo for many years transporting patients to and from the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area to Covenant Medical Center and Covenant Clinic offices in Waterloo. However, a community health needs assessment completed in 2013 revealed many Cedar Falls residents struggle to access health care due to transportation issues.
“We discovered many people, specifically senior citizens who live on their own, relied heavily on family, neighbors or parishioners from their church to assist them in getting to and from their medical appointments,” said Amy Hetherton, customer and community relations manager with Wheaton. “Because the service is working so well in Waterloo, expanding to Cedar Falls is an opportunity for us to serve our patients better.”
Care-A-Van is available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and is free for patients who have no way to get to Sartori Memorial Hospital or any of the Covenant Clinic locations within Cedar Falls. Volunteer drivers pick up residents at their home, and take them to their appointment and back. There are requirements the patients must meet, including the ability to get in and out of the van on their own, and the service is available on a first come, first serve basis.
“Our goal is to expand and help patients both morning and afternoon five days a week because we know the need exists,” said Bev Degenhardt, manager of volunteer services for Wheaton. “However, that expansion is contingent on finding more volunteer drivers.”
Operation of Care-A-Van during severe weather follows local school cancellations. To request a ride with the Care-A-Van, please call (319) 272-5895. If interested in becoming a volunteer driver please call Bev Degenhardt at (319) 272-7855.