TX: Medicaid Recipients Can Ride TAPS to Medical Appointments

Aug. 02--COOKE COUNTY -- Medicaid members who have no other form of transportation for healthcare appointments can now make appointments with TAPS Access for a ride.

TAPS Public Transit was awarded a contract with the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) for an initial 36-month period starting in August. The contract covers a "super region" that includes Archer, Baylor, Clay, Collin, Cooke, Cottle, Fannin, Foard, Grayson, Hardeman, Jack, Montague, Wilbarger, Wichita, Wise and Young counties.

TAPS will now accept telephone calls for trip reservations that occur on or after Sept. 1.

The agency hired a staff of more than 100 drivers, call center agents, and supervisors to provide Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) services to an estimated 55,000 eligible Medicaid recipients in 16 counties in North Texas.

"Over the past few weeks we have been on a fast track to build an entirely new operating unit (TAPS Access) that will interface with our larger organization," Brad Underwood, TAPS CEO and executive director said. "TAPS Public Transit is the largest public transportation agency of its kind in the State of Texas."

TAPS Access drivers will be outfitted with uniforms that differentiate them from TAPS Public Transit drivers. The TAPS Access workforce will launch with 25 call center personnel and 50 commercially licensed drivers, and supervisory personnel. TAPS Public Transit will provide back office functions for TAPS Access.

The economic impact on the region will amount to millions of dollars in new payroll, vendor contracts, and purchase of goods and services.

Currently, according to TAPS records, Cooke County has 345 registered customers; 70 percent of the passengers are female, 30 percent are male, 40 percent are between 59 and 69 years old and 41 percent are disabled without any other choices for transportation. Most trips are less than seven miles to destinations such as Wal-Mart, the dialysis center, hospitals and doctor's appointments, employment and schools.

The number of trips increased by 18 percent from the previous year. In 2012-2013 TAPS made 27,735 trips and currently TAPS has made 32,600 trips.

When TAPS began 28 years ago in Cooke County, riders had their choice of riding in a station wagon or a van equipped to accommodate a wheelchair.

With the TAPS Access operations, TAPS Public Transit now ranks in the Top 5 small urban and rural transit districts in the nation.

For more information visit www.TAPSAccess.com

Copyright 2014 - Gainesville Daily Register, Texas