State gives more funds for medical transportation

The program provides fare payment for rides to medical service providers.
MERCER, Pa. -- A 45-percent increase in demand for medical transportation for the county's poor has brought more state money to Mercer County.
At their meeting today, county commissioners plan to accept $235,000 in additional funds for the Medical Assistance Transportation Program operated by Mercer County Area Agency on Aging.
The 2005-06 allocation had been $392,477, while the previous year's funding was $383,400. The state came up with the additional money after local demand spiked with 696 riders participating from July to December 2005, the first six months of the program's fiscal year, which amounts to a 45-percent increase.
Sandy Swogger, the agency's administrative assistant, told commissioners at their chief clerk's meeting Tuesday that ridership apparently increased because of growing awareness of the program.
Fare covered
It provides 100-percent fare payment for rides to certain medical service providers, including visits to qualifying doctors and even to pharmacies to pick up prescriptions.
The program pays fares on Mercer County Community Transit vans as well as taxi, ambulettes and other private providers as well as paying 20 cents per mile for qualifying participants who drive themselves or find rides with others.
Swogger said program participants must be enrolled in a medical assistance program, and that they can range from newborns to senior citizens. The program is state funded with no local contribution. For information about the program, call the agency at (800) 570-6222.

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