SHREVEPORT, La. --- Doctor’s appointments, making groceries, maybe just an afternoon with friends, or family. I know that I, as a disabled person, am always hesitant to impose upon others, if I can make my own way. Fortunately, I’ve recently learned about two resources in the area for transportation which give me my independence, dignity, and autonomy. It is to anyone’s advantage to register for these services, if you’re eligible. Or to know about them, even if you don’t need them quite yet.
Let’s say that you have a weekly appointment with a medical office... If you’re elderly, disabled, and without a vehicle--- or all three; there are options available to you. If you’re on Medicaid, there is a company, that dispatches dozens of medical transport companies throughout northwest Louisiana, including all of Shreveport-Bossier.
You must call to schedule the ride two full days in advance, and typically, must be up, dressed, ready, and waiting, two hours before your appointment time. There is an intake process with this company, in order to determine what type of assistance or equipment is required by the patient/passenger. This company is only for medical transportation and only for current LA Medicaid-registered individuals. This round-trip transportation is free to the passenger. They will ONLY schedule rides with TWO DAYS NOTICE. Period. They MAY make exceptions for chemotherapy, or critical appointments. Southeast Transportation can be reached at: 1-855-325-7565. They would be able to let you know how to register, participate, and schedule rides.
The city of Shreveport, via SporTran’s “LiftLine” program (http://bit.ly/LiftLine), offers transportation for the disabled as well, and an application process is also required. More flexible, this local service is not restricted to medical appointments only. The pharmacy, grocery store, mall... LiftLine will typically transport eligible riders to most destinations within the city limits of incorporated Shreveport. The current fare is $2.50, each way.
One additional benefit is that the subscriber is entitled to have a companion accompany them on the rides as necessary. This added traveler must be mentioned at the time of scheduling the booking. If you have a printer, you can download the LiftLine application (http://bit.ly/RideApply) and mail it in to their offices. If you have questions, they can be reached by phone, at 318-673-7415.
Though is is a great help to have these resources available, here’s what I’ve learned: Rides are not always on time, therefore, bring your next dose of medicine with you, in case your rides are delayed. If you are delayed, and stuck in a doctor’s office, bring a light jacket or sweater to combat the chilly air conditioning. Bring your phone charger with the AC outlet adapter. If you’re diabetic or hypoglycemic, bring a nutritious snack so that your levels maintain healthily. Bring a book, this column, some bottled water, hand sanitizer, an extra pull-up undergarment. Try to think ahead and anticipate your needs, in the event of a “glitch”. Always bring the name and number of the driver, or transport company with you in case there is a problem of any kind.
As wonderful, and convenient, as transportation services are, they are unable to guarantee pick up, and drop-off times, as the rider before you may have had some issue(s) which delayed the driver. Having spoken with several drivers since I personally began using transport, I can tell that they really are dedicated to getting people to and from their appointments in as timely a fashion as possible. Things happen. To be prepared, packed, and comfortable in those times, will make your transportation experience much more bearable.
About the writer:
Marcinho Savant, a disabled Shreveport/Bossier resident, is a former health care worker in both private-duty, and institutional care environments. He is an author, executive, entertainment expert, and nursing home survivor.
Words: 657 with Boilerplate
Marcinho Savant, a Shreve