New wheels for Wheels of WellnessPublished 2:00am Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Thanks to funding from the Escambia County Healthcare Authority, expectant mothers and children will continue to have transportation to seek medical care.
The Wheels of Wellness program has made a new van purchase to provide reliable transportation tofor healthcare appointments and treatments for pediatric patients and expectant mothers without other means of transportation. The services are offered for local healthcare appointments as well as healthcare appointments at larger medical facilities for treatment not available in Escambia County.
Ruth Harrell, chairman of the Escambia County Healthcare Authority and the Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County, said the service provided by the program is focused on keeping women and children in Escambia County healthy.
“The Wheels of Wellness is one way the Escambia County Healthcare Authority supports children’s and women’s health in our community,” Harrell said. “Patients can be transported to major cities for health care services they can’t receive locally, which is the primary reason we worked to get the program started.”
Wheels of Wellness started as a way to transport children safely to health care services not available in the local area and later expanded to include transportation for expectant mothers. The Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County, The Escambia County Healthcare Authority and various other community organizations collaborated to start the program in October 2006. Since the inception of the program, Wheels of Wellness has provided approximately 1,400 trips, which total over 166,000 miles traveled.
Tom Fraser, director for the Wheels of Wellness program, said the new van is a welcome sight for the organization.
“I appreciate the Escambia County Healthcare Authority making this possible,” Fraser said. “After several years, the wear and tear on any vehicle takes its toll. The new van improves our reliability and allows us to fulfill our mission of transporting patients to needed appointments.”
The program operates on an average monthly operating budget of about $2,500 or $30,000 annually. Various individuals and community based organizations have assisted the program by sponsoring ongoing financial support of the program, with the Escambia County Healthcare Authority also making ongoing operating support contributions. The Wheels of Wellness program is in constant need of financial support. Those interested in supporting the program can make a financial contribution as follows to Wheels of Wellness , C/O Escambia County Healthcare Authority, P.O. Box 908, Brewton, AL 36427.