Carepool expands driving service to Green Bay, Appleton
APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - A specialized car service for the elderly and people with disabilities is now being offered in Appleton and Green Bay. But, in light of the pandemic, Carepool is also expanding its services to help more people.
Nathan Miller started working with Carepool as a driver about a month ago after discovering the company through a job search site.
“Uber was kind of on my mind and I saw that and I thought that this is kind of a little bit more of a better job, I like helping people,” said Miller.
Carepool is a Madison-based company that provides rides to mainly people with Medicaid or Medicare so they can get to doctors appoints, jobs, and so on.
Josh Massey founded the company after hearing of his grandmother’s difficulties with transportation through Medicaid and seeing the rise of services like Uber.
“Kind of wondering like why can’t we do more of a safe and secure, relationship-type driven model,” said Massey.
Like other transportation services drivers can use their own cars, but rides are planned with 48-hour notice and people can indicate special needs or sensitivities they may have.
Massey says most drivers they hire have healthcare or caretaking backgrounds, and all employees go through a background check.
Carepool is now offered in several counties in Wisconsin as well as Minnesota, Tennessee, and Colorado – with Appleton and Green Bay being its newest service area.
“It’s a great way to get out and do something especially in this time right now,” said Miller.
Because of the pandemic, Massey says they’re also expanding services by driving people to get COVID tests or COVID-positive people to medical appointments.
“Someone’s got to be able to transfer people and now as beds are starting to get full, we’ve got to figure out how to get people where they need to go and – it’s going to be a long few months here,” said Massey.
Aside from mask-wearing and sanitizing, plastic barriers have been put up between cars' front and back seats and Massey says windows will also be cracked to promote good air flow.
“That’s really what the CDC has recommended, just doing whatever we can to keep people (on a) separate airflow and as safe as possible,” said Massey.
“Just making a barrier, making sure I’m not in more contact with someone,” said Miller. “But obviously they still need to go… they have to go to the doctor’s appointment still and without someone like me driving them they’re not able to get there and, you know, with being able to bring them there I’m happy knowing I can help them in one way or another.”
In more established locations, public health departments and hospitals provide funding for COVID test rides.
Massey says they’re still working on building those relationships in Appleton and Green Bay.
“The need is obviously there so we’re definitely looking forward to getting going and getting engaged with the area,” said Massey.
For non-COVID rides there is a $20 fee for five miles and then $2.50 for each additional mile. However, Carepool does accept Medicaid through managed care organizations (MCOs) like Lakeland Care or programs such as IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) which can help cover the cost. The company also works with local Age Development and Resource Centers that may help pay for rides as well.
Passengers can schedule transportation for themselves or can have a family member, care manager, or other trusted individual arrange the ride. It can also be set up so that family members of a rider can receive text updates on the ride to ensure everything runs smoothly.
To get a quote or to schedule a ride people can call 608-897-1333, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the company website. The website also includes a “frequently asked questions" page if you need further information.
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