New bus route improves access to health care

Posted on May 15, 2012 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
Posted by of Insight Publications

ThedaCare and Valley Transit have teamed up on a bus route that will help improve access to health care for area residents. Valley Transit’s new Route 16 includes several stops at businesses and health care facilities on Appleton’s northeast side, including:

  • Appleton Medical Center
  • Copps Food Store
  • Encircle Health
  • Valley Packaging
  • ThedaCare Physicians-Pediatrics

Family physician Dave Anderla approached the city of Appleton with the idea for expanding the route to help riders reach their medical providers, according to a ThedaCare press release.

“Access to health care for all people is an important mission of our community and affordable transportation is a key part of that process,” Dr. Anderla says. “We look forward to years of future partnership with Valley Transit and appreciate their efforts in helping make this a reality.”

This is the first new route added by the bus service in more than 10 years. The Fox Cities LIFE Study, released in 2011, identified the important role that public transportation plays in public health.

“Public transit plays an important role in ensuring access to health care services and adds to a community’s quality of life by ensuring citizens receive appropriate medical attention,” says Valley Transit General Manager Deborah Wetter. “Studies show that without access to the reliable, affordable transportation option public transit provides, many people would forgo preventative health care visits which can have a detrimental effect on a patient’s care.”

To celebrate the new route, ThedaCare is planning several special activities this week for Route 16 riders, including discounted food and beverages at Copper Rock inside Encircle Health, prize drawings for cookbooks and bus passes, and special guest riders who will answer health related questions from about 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. each day this week.

Before the new route was added, Wetter said riders faced up to a mile walk from a bus stop to their health care providers. “For our riders with disabilities, this was impossible and led to increased use of our more expensive demand-response services. Fixed-route bus service – like the new route – can provide transportation to these destinations on a regular basis at a fraction of the cost for riders and taxpayers,” she said.