Getting poor or disabled people home from the hospital – particularly following an after-hours discharge – or into Hutchinson to access healthcare and mental health services were listed Wednesday as two primary gaps in regional public transportation service.
Solutions, however, were not so easily identifiable.
Just a handful of people showed up Wednesday afternoon for a Kansas Department of Transportation public meeting at the Reno County Area Transit office to offer input in on gaps in public transportation for the elderly, poor and disabled.
Hutchinson was the last stop in a series of such meetings around the state by KDOT and an Omaha consulting firm assisting in drafting a Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan (CPT-HSTP), a requirement for federal public transportation dollars.
Besides Rcat officials and a pair of bus drivers, participants included Mike Garrett, CEO of Horizon’s Mental Health Center, Corey Griffith, safety officer at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, and Terry Bolte, director of the McPherson County Council on Aging.
“We serve a five county area, with our home office is in Reno County,” Garrett advised Bill Troe, with SRF Consulting Group, who conducted the meeting. “We have people in the hospital who can’t get home to Medicine Lodge and Kingman. We have other consumers who need to get to our services. Within Reno County, we have a pretty good system.”
Besides transportation out of town, the biggest gap he sees, Griffith said, was transportation home from the hospital after 5 p.m.
“Discharge goes into the evening, past normal operating hours,” he said.
The drivers were not aware of any particular issues, other than riders wanting to get to other counties, particularly Sedgwick County and Wichita.
Part of the goal in developing the plan, Troe said, is identifying human service agencies providing for needs of elderly and disabled, and other’s that might provide…