Transcript of Webinar:
Bob Brocker (00:00):
Okay. Welcome everybody. My name is Bob Brocker and Barbara Boyer is on with us, she’s our executive director. And we’re talking today about getting around without driving and we have a fine group of panelists to talk about that. This is our webinar number 41 since we launched this service in July of 2021.
So today’s panelists, and we’ll start, we’ll go in this order. Jill Kelly is an occupational therapist.
Jill Kelly (00:33):
I’m on a Zoom call, I’ll call you later. Okay. Bye-bye.
Bob Brocker (00:39):
And if you’re not muted, please mute yourself. And then we have Tyler Borzileri and Todd Glasser, who are both with MedRide and Metro One Ambulance, and they’re going to each talk about different aspects of that. And then followed by Colleen Samuels, who’s the executive director of the Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council.
A little bit about Agewise Colorado. We are here to serve aging Coloradans and caregivers of today and tomorrow, and our mission really is to connect, at no cost. All older Coloradans and their families to reliable, helpful services and products, information assistance and education to help the over three million age 40 plus Coloradans on their aging journey, age well in age, wisely in other words. This is our homepage. I encourage you to visit our website after this is over today, and this is our schedule for upcoming webinars in the next two and a half months. Next week we have another one on getting around without driving, and that’s going to be focused on both rural and city. And then we’re going to dive into some elder abuse issues and decluttering and some affordable housing. So from that, I am going to stop this and turn this over to Jill Kelly to tell us what she does. And take it away, Jill.
Jill Kelly (02:27):
Good morning everyone. My name is Jill Kelly. I am an occupational therapist. I have worked in geriatrics for over 25 years. I am also a certified driver rehab specialist. Which means I work with your doctor to help figure out if you are safe to drive. If you are not safe to drive and it’s time for driving retirement, then I can pass you on to such folks like Colleen and DRMAC, and we can look at other transportation options that there are.
What I would like to tell you… What I would like to tell you guys is that Colorado is a self-report state, and this is something that most people don’t know. What that means is if you have any medical diagnosis that could affect your driving, you are obligated to tell the state about this medical concern. And if you have any questions, all my information is on the website at Agewise and you can find me on there and follow up with me. But I just want to tell you that there are some obligations, personal obligations in the state of Colorado. So if you’ve had a stroke, if you’ve had a heart attack, if you are oxygen dependent, there’s some very… Diabetes is even on this list, but you need to tell the state of Colorado about these diagnoses. By telling them, you then have equal liability when you are driving. Until then, right now, if you’re driving and you haven’t completed this form, then you could be considered at fault for any accident that happens.
So, I kind of take some of the emotion out of driving decisions. It’s very difficult for families to make this decision. It’s very emotional. It can break relationships. It’s just there’s so much opportunity for things not to go well with the family that by bringing me in, I do a three hour, very objective test that includes vision, reaction, time, rules of the road, road sign knowledge, and then we actually go out and drive in my vehicle, which has an instructor brake, and I have mirrors so I can see what’s going on behind us. So, nobody likes to drive in my car, but that’s just how it works, we can keep everybody safe.
And when I’m finished with that, I gather my information and I give it to the doctor and then you and the doctor can have the final discussion about… And you know what, maybe you just need to drive a little less or not so fast or not so far, but if it is time for driving retirement, then you’ll, the other folks that are going to speak with you today can help you figure out what to do from there. Because I know giving up driving is a very, very difficult thing. It takes away spontaneity, it takes away your independence. Just being dependent on somebody else is very, very difficult.
So that is something that I can do. It is a medically based driving assessment and very few people, including doctors, know that I’m out there and that this is what we do. It is an out-of-pocket expense, it is not covered by insurance, so that’s something to think about. But if you have any questions, just look on Agewise and you can get connected with me. And I am happy to answer any specific questions and I’m happy to answer questions now as well or at the end of the show when we gather all the questions.
Bob Brocker (06:41):
Todd, are you going to speak first ?
Todd Glasser (06:43):
Jill, that was really interesting. I wish I would’ve known this about a year and a half ago because I just went through this process with my parents and it’s such an emotional task. It’s something that they weren’t ready for, something that I wasn’t ready to have that communication for, and I wish I would’ve had that third party to help me through that process.
Jill Kelly (07:16):
You are not the first person to say that. So we’ve been trying really hard to get the word out. And just medically… You can do a DMV drive test and I would tell you the DMV probably looks at maybe 10, 15% of what I do. So, easy, easy to pass a DMV test, not so easy to pass with me.
Todd Glasser (07:37):
Jill Kelly (07:38):
But yes, it is a huge, huge… There’s just… It’s loaded, emotionally loaded, everything about it.
Todd Glasser (07:46):
Right. Yeah, I wish I would’ve add something like that so they didn’t have to hear it from me.
Jill Kelly (07:51):
Todd Glasser (07:52):
Well, hey guys, first and foremost, Bob and Barbara, thank you so much for having us. I’m here today to talk about two different umbrellas that we have in our organization. Both are non-emergency medical transportation. I represent MedRide transportation, and again, non-emergency medically related. We do about 1,600 trips a da.y and we do those in the state of Colorado. We do them in Pueblo, Grand Junction, Denver, and Colorado Springs.
We have two different types of vehicles under MedRide. We have an ambulatory, when you hear the word ambulatory, the first thing you probably think of is an ambulance. But our ambulatory, in non-emergency medical transportation, and this only took me about three months to figure out, but ambulatory is basically a four door sedan. So when you, in non-emergency medical transportation, we have absolutely nothing to do with a taxi cab service. We are medically related. We do a couple different transports here and there of different things based upon the client’s needs, but we are a service industry driven transportation company.
Our 300 plus drivers, they’re not just pulling up to the curb, they’re going to walk up, they’re going to knock on the door, they’re going to escort you down to the vehicle, they’re going to pull into the parking lot. They’re not going to drop you off at the curb. They are going to physically get out and guide you, guide you to that front desk of whatever appointment you have. We call it a white glove, but we do about 1,600 of those trips a day. So not only ambulatory but wheelchair as well. And so that’s more on the MedRide side.
Through Metro One, which is the other organization underneath our umbrella, that’s more of an ambulance. So if you’re tied to a stretcher, we do a lot of bariatric, we do transfers from rehab, we work with different hospice organizations. And there we probably do about, we’re pushing almost 80 rides a day right now through Metro One. But those are the two different organizations. And each and every one of our employees is a full-time benefited employee. They’re driving vehicles that are five years or newer. We have software packages both inside and outside of the vehicle. So at any time we can pull up video or from current, from live status or we can pull it up from two weeks ago. Each one of our employees is in uniform. And I think the biggest note is each and every one of our employees is a full-time benefit employees. We 10-99, no one.
All of our employees are put through a pretty major training in the beginning. And it’s more on an emotional level. We know who we’re going to pick up, we know the service that’s needed. We want to show that support, not only physically but mentally as well. So Metro One and MedRide, we’re pretty much covering the entire state of Colorado. We work with different insurances. We work with Medicare, we bill Medicaid directly. We really just work to take care of all the measures that anyone needs.
We have our primary call center is based in Colorado Springs. We have about 40 different representatives that will take your call, that guide you through the transportation process, from a pickup time to a delivery time. They understand that if you live in Denver and you have an appointment in Littleton, they’re going to work with you on how long that will take. So they understand all of that. What else can I answer? We continue to grow day in and day out. We’re just starting up north now. We’re kind of starting a little ramp up in the Fort Collins area. But four main offices right now in those four different cities.
Bob Brocker (12:03):
So Todd, tell us again the difference between MedRide and Metro One ambulance.
Todd Glasser (12:11):
Sure. Sure. So MedRide is ambulatory and wheelchair, two different vehicles, the four-door sedan, and then your basic minivan that pulls in. We’ve got different lift gates that can oblige to a wheelchair for access both inside and outside. We will lock the patient in via the wheelchair, via straps. All of our drivers are trained in that area.
And then on the Metro One side, Metro One is really a full-blown ambulance service, so stretcher service, and they do have EMTs and paramedics on board. It’s all based upon the need of the service through Metro One. Basic life support is primarily, we probably do 90% of what we do is through basic life support, and that’s more of a transportation, but the end user is pretty much tied to a stretcher. And then we have advanced life support, which is where you’re going to have a paramedic on board, and that’s basically just to deal with the different narcotics. We are not 911, but we have the full function of a 911 call. It’s just the same level of service, the same level of emergency care, but it’s a scheduled transportation with the patient. Does that make sense?
Bob Brocker (13:30):
Yeah. We have a few questions, Todd, in chat. We have a question about, can you give a cost spread for MedRide? And kind of associated with that, is it private pay? And I think you mentioned a couple of things about that, but please.
Todd Glasser (13:49):
Yeah, you bet. You bet. So our Metro One and MedRide both operate the same from a payment structure. We really managed to the Medicare allowable rates. And so they’re going to be really, they’re very similar. And I hate to use the term taxi, but we’re all in the same boat. We work through a common carrier license through the Public Utilities Commission’s office. There’s always a load fee. So each and every time that you place a call and you get into the vehicle, that’s known as a load fee or a leg.
And from ambulatory, you’re probably looking anywhere between $12 and $15. So when you get into the vehicle, you’re going to be hit with that cost. And then there’s a mileage rate on top of that. So typically about $2.50 a mile.
Bob Brocker (14:41):
Todd Glasser (14:47):
On the Metro One side, obviously because of the narcotics, the EMTs, the paramedics, it ranges a little bit differently there. But again, all Medicare allowable rates, you’re probably looking at about $270, a low fee, and then a little bit under, well probably about $8.50 cents a mile. And again, that’s through Metro One, which is the ambulance service.
Bob Brocker (15:15):
And just to help me understand this though, so you said Medicare approved rates, does that mean Medicare will pay for these rides? How does that work?
Todd Glasser (15:27):
Yeah. So we deal with all types of different insurances. We deal with Medicaid, we deal with Medicare, and we will bill those directly if the approval is there. And same thing on private pay, we will accept, they’ll take your credit card over the phone and book your travel. But Medicare yearly sets an allowable rate just so that different organizations don’t, we don’t become car salesmen. So we followed a structure, Medicare allowable rate. It’s kind of their guideline in regards to what non-emergency medical transportation rates should be.
Bob Brocker (16:06):
Okay. Go ahead.
Todd Glasser (16:10):
We also do contracted pricing with different entities. So whether it’s hospice, nursing homes, rehab facilities, we do contracted pricing through them as well. And then that pricing is set yearly.
Bob Brocker (16:27):
Okay. And how much notice do you need for a ride in either case in ambulatory [inaudible 00:16:37]?
Todd Glasser (16:37):
Yeah, that’s a great question. We do rides the day of, but it’s kind of a first come, first serve. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdays are very difficult for us because we’re full primarily on those days. We’re open 24 hours a day. We prefer 24 hours in advance or sooner. We have patients that’ll make, schedule a ride three months in advance, six months in advance. But we do ride the day of as well. But again, it gets a little difficult because most of our drivers are booked.
Bob Brocker (17:14):
Okay. And the other questions about service areas. So we had questions about Adams County, Broomfield, Boulder, Fort Collins, Larimer County, Weld County. Can you talk about that?
Todd Glasser (17:30):
You bet. I would say right now we’ll cover, and especially with scheduled calls, through Metro one, the ambulance service, we are, as long as we load them here in the state of Colorado, we can take them anywhere. Right now we’re transferring patients to Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico. We’re loading and we’re transporting them home. We’re transporting them to different facilities. Through MedRide… And Metro One will go the entire state of Colorado, we have the license to do that. Through MedRide, we are contracted primarily everywhere in the state or we have drivers everywhere in the state, now with the exception of the Sterling area, so kind of that Northeast. And then Southwest, it’s just a little bit more remote, but we will schedule if we have that advance notice. So scheduling is-
Bob Brocker (18:32):
So in other words-
Todd Glasser (18:34):
… scheduling is the biggest primary. If you can get that in advance, we feel comfortable getting you anywhere.
Bob Brocker (18:44):
Okay. And then, so you can serve Boulder and Weld and Larimer County?
Todd Glasser (18:50):
Yes, absolutely. The nine counties in the Denver metropolitan areas, those are the simple things. When you get out, like I said, up in the Northeast or down in the Southwest, it gets a little bit more challenging. But again, with that advanced notice, with that advanced schedule, we’re more than happy to try to transport anywhere.
Bob Brocker (19:12):
Can you schedule a recurring transportation appointment? And kind of going along with that, how do you handle return rides from an appointment? How does that work?
Todd Glasser (19:21):
We do, and it is no difference than setting up a ride. We have a lot of clients on dialysis, and where they’re setting up schedules six months in advance every Tuesday and Thursday, they need to be dropped off at 1:00 PM and picked back up at 4:00 PM. And so you’ll do that all on the coordination of your call, of your schedule. We do offer where we’ll have a driver wait, and obviously there’s additional fees on top of that, but primarily, probably 99% of our patients are scheduling a ride to and a ride home all in the same call.
Bob Brocker (19:58):
Are there any restrictions on age of the people you serve?
Todd Glasser (20:05):
There are not. And the other thing that we do allow, we will allow an escort at no additional cost if they have an escort that wants to go with them.
Bob Brocker (20:17):
Okay. And then, I think I might have another question or two here. So flyers, but I will tell you that all of these folks who are on this call, speaking on this call today are on the Agewise Colorado website. So if you just go to our website, you can find whatever information you need there. Todd, I think it would be helpful if you put the number of the dispatch center-
Todd Glasser (20:50):
Bob Brocker (20:52):
… in the chat so that people can see that.
Todd Glasser (20:56):
Yeah, I’ll put my direct line as well as our call center, which is… Our call center’s located in Colorado Springs. We have about a team of 35 people that from 6:00 AM till 7:00 PM that schedule rides all day long. We have a team on Saturdays. And then our dispatch and scheduling team actually resides in Pueblo, Colorado. But I will list that call center phone line as well as my own personal direct cell.
Bob Brocker (21:27):
Okay, thank you. And last question here, I think you might’ve answered this, but just for clarification. If a caregiver goes to an appointment with a person, do they get in at one rate with that person who needs the ride? That’s correct, right?
Todd Glasser (21:45):
Yeah, there’s no additional calls for an escort, no additional pricing for an escort. We encourage that actually.
Bob Brocker (21:52):
Okay. All right. Very good. I think that pretty much handles the questions for you. So thank you so much for this.
Todd Glasser (22:02):
Yeah, I just started in this industry six months ago and I think the biggest thing that I’ve come to understand is it takes a village to get people and to get them into their appointments. And we have customers where we do one ride a month and we have customers where we do about 160 rides a day. So, however we can help you support, if we can refer you, we have a lot of partners in the travel industry as well, both inside the state of Colorado and outside the state of Colorado. So, however we can help.
Bob Brocker (22:36):
Okay, thank you, Todd. And I want to just flip back to Jill for just a moment. We had a question about cost, and I’m reading Jill’s answer in the chat. She says that there’s another driving assessment company near Broadway named Mineral. Other companies are in Colorado Springs, Westminster and Fort Collins. Jill is the only one that comes to the driver’s home because she feels it’s very important for them to drive in familiar territory. So her full assessment rate is $600. So if you’re working with an occupational therapist and only need the on-road assessment, the cost is $350. So there’s the answer to that question. So I think right now I’m going to turn to Colleen and ask Colleen to talk about what DRMAC does. So please, Colleen.
Colleen Samuels (23:48):
All right. Let’s see. Now I can’t see you also. Bear with me if I miss something. But thank you. My name is Colleen Samuels and I am the executive director for the Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council, otherwise known as DRMAC.
Okay. Our mission is to ensure people with mobility challenges have access to the community by increasing, enhancing, sharing, and coordinating regional transportation services and resources. And we do that by creating partnerships with other organizations and transportation providers. Todd is actually one of our partners and one of our members. So Hi, Todd. It’s good to see you. But his org does good work.
Who is DRMAC? We are a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 with the vision of mobility and access for all. Regional transportation coordinating council for the nine Denver Metro Counties. We are a membership organization. We provide mobility management through coordination, education, and information sharing.
So I’ll just go over a few of our services really quickly and then if you have any questions or need any information after that, I’m more than happy. But DRMAC tools for identifying transportation resources. We have our Getting There Guide, and I’ll explain all of these in the next couple of slides. We have our Information and Assistance Call Center Line and we have our Getting There App. And finally, our Getting There Travel Training.
This is what a copy of our Getting There Travel Guide looks like. We’re currently in our 14th edition, but we are constantly vetting the information and producing updated copies of the guide. So we will be doing our 15th edition this year. It’s free. All you need to do is email or call us and we’ll get you one in the mail. It is our longest ongoing project. It’s available on our website to download and print if you prefer to receive it that way. And like I just said, you can either get it from the website, you can give us a call or you can email us. We have over 55 transportation transit providers available and this is the website, I can also put in the chat later for if you want to download a copy online. It is available. And I also want to say, it’s available in multi-languages. And if there’s a language that we don’t have and you see a need, if you let us know, we can try to get that done as well.
Here’s our service area. We serve Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin, and Jefferson Counties. Did I miss one? Oh, yep, I did. I went too fast, sorry. Our tools, our Information and Assistance Center is available Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00 PM. I just want to mention that it’s not emergency service, but if we miss your call, we will call you back within 24 hours. We’ve also enhanced our phone system so that if… We have one person that is primarily responsible for answering the calls, but if she’s unavailable, it will roll over because we want to make sure we’re serving as many people as possible. You can get individual consultation to provide information about appropriate transportation options. It is available. We have Spanish translation as well as Colorado State Relay Services for calls.
So what does a typical call into the INA line look like? We can help callers determine Access-A-Ride service availability and give some help with the application process. We can also coach callers to think about alternative services, like maybe getting your groceries delivered instead of maybe trying to go to the grocery store if there aren’t really any options in your area. We serve as an advocate for callers to help resolve issues with transportation providers. And unfortunately we get quite a few of these calls and we’re more than happy because we do have relationships with some of these transportation providers. And I’d say overall, they want to hear these complaints or how they can improve their service. So, we’re more than happy to be the mediator. We provide direct transportation assistance to riders. So that comes in the form of, we have some funding to provide RTD tickets. We have some funding for Uber Rides and a small amount of funding for Lyft rides. So we can provide a little bit of direct transportation assistance.
The we have our Getting There para-transit app, it kind of looks a lot like our paper Getting There Guide. And it includes information about para-transit public transportation, volunteer-based driving services and private options. The app will go beyond providing a list of transportation providers because it will help you actually filter the information based on where you live and where you’re trying to go. And if there are any requirements. I know some, maybe via some… Or some transportation providers have age requirements, so if you put all that information in, it will automatically populate the best resource for you. We’ve recently updated the app to include food and housing assistance, and we’re in this next year going to continue to expand it because we realize that we’re getting calls that although they’re related to transportation, sometimes they are for asking for assistance or resources for things that aren’t really in our wheelhouse. But we want to be a good community partner and helpful if we can be. It’s a… Oh, I forgot to mention that. It’s available in any language with Google Translate.
So where can you find the app? So go to your app store, it’s available on the Apple App store or the Google Play Store. And here are some instructions, but we also give training on downloading and using the app. So if you need that, you can reach out to us and we’ll help with that as well. You can also access the app on your computer by going to www.gettingthereguide.com. And this just kind of gives you a little view of what it looks like. This is probably the program that I’m the most excited about because I feel like this may be where we make the most impact and that’s our getting their travel training program.
So I know before I started using public transportation, I was anxious, and I think a lot of folks, especially those who are transitioning out of, well, they’ve recently lost their privileges to drive and now you need to rely on an alternative transportation mode. What we do is, we help folks become comfortable using various options, and these are some of the things that we cover, like RTD, buses and trains, Lyft and Uber, not necessarily always the scooters, but Rideshare as well. Where and how to purchase tickets, how do you plan a trip, para-transit options, how do you read a schedule? And then we also go over some of the DRMAC resources.
The trainings are free. All of our services are free, I want to say first of all. We don’t charge for any of the services we provide, but we offer three free training sessions. You can take it online via Zoom or if it’s in a group session, we will come to you and do the trainings in person. And this is what we cover. Overview of transit resources, RTD basics, Lyft and Uber basics. Our trainings are available in English as well as Spanish. And you don’t have to take them in any order. You just take the courses that are more applicable to your situation or that you’re interested in.
So this is how you sign up. And I can also send this info or put it in the chat. You can go to our firstname.lastname@example.org and it’ll say, “Click here to learn to ride.” at the top of the homepage and then you just register via [inaudible 00:32:38]. Or you can email us… Oops, I went too fast. Sorry. You can email us at email@example.com and just tell us, especially if you’re going to be working with a group. We go to a lot of assisted living and senior living facilities and do group trainings there. So if you have a group that you would like for us to train, probably the email option would be best. And I think that’s about all I have. Does have any questions for me.
Bob Brocker (33:09):
Okay. Does anybody have… Do we have any questions for Colleen? Or any of our other presenters at this time? And if you’d like to unmute yourself and ask a question now would be a good time to do that?
Colleen Samuels (33:40):
Yes, we will. We will go to… We only ask that if possible you have at least five or more people because it just makes it more worth our… We’re a small staff of seven, so if we do go to your home or we will go to the facility or we’ll go to, I don’t know, your church, wherever your group is, we just ask that you have at least five people in attendance. Oh, thank you.
Bob Brocker (34:10):
Okay. Do we have any other questions or comments? I have somebody that just joined.
Speaker 6 (34:20):
[inaudible 00:34:21]the Access-A-Ride is free?
Colleen Samuels (34:24):
It is free. You mean for the referral service? I’m sorry?
Speaker 6 (34:28):
For the ride. Do you need to join to get the services for rides to various places?
Colleen Samuels (34:37):
Okay, so we are more of a referral service, so we don’t actually provide rides, but we will try to provide the most, depending on your circumstances, we do have some free resources. We will just get you, connect you to those free resources, if that makes sense. If I answered your question?
Speaker 6 (34:59):
Colleen Samuels (35:00):
Okay. Thank you.
Todd Glasser (35:01):
I was just going to add that scheduling is the biggest thing in transportation and there are a lot of great services out there. There’s a lot of services that do not, that don’t cost, but those are limited. So the sooner that you can schedule, obviously the better.
Colleen Samuels (35:20):
That is a good point, Todd, because if we have enough time in advance to get you the best option, then if we call the day of, that kind of limits the resources we may have. So any future planning is helpful. That’s a good point.
Bob Brocker (35:38):
And there was a question too, Colleen, about, is via mobility part of your program?
Colleen Samuels (35:44):
[inaudible 00:35:44] They are, they are probably one of the providers that we refer to the most because of their coverage areas and they’re metro area rides are free. So yes, they are part of our network.
Bob Brocker (36:02):
Well everybody have a great day today and enjoy this much warmer weather that we’re having.
Jill Kelly (36:10):
Bob Brocker (36:11):
See you next time. Okay, take care. Bye-bye.
Jill Kelly (36:14):