WAUKESHA - A local health care provider
believes a recent price jump in its patient
transportation services will help ensure the program can
continue, but some locals say the move is making a dent
in their wallets.
Since June 1, the price of a round-trip
ride to and from a doctor’s appointment provided by
ProHealth Care increased from $14 up to $80 - a move
that has upset some area residents, who believe the rate
hike will price out some cash-strapped patients.
“It is a big financial hit,” said Mary
Thorpe, a resident of Merrill Hills Manor who uses the
service multiple times per year. “If you think it is
costing you something - no matter what insurance
coverage you have - just to go to the doctor, and then
you go from $7 to $40 and round-trip is $80, that is
almost hard to believe.”
Thorpe said she has to pay that price out
of pocket and has begun exploring other options to get
to and from her doctor’s appointments - including a
Medicare van and local cabs - but she has found no
alternatives as cheap at the ProHealth service was.
Because of her location, a one-way cab
ride to downtown Waukesha costs her $13, while the
Medicare transport is $10.
“I can squeak by doing that,” she said.
“I would rather continue to pay what I had paid
ProHealth, but I just don’t know what they were thinking
(about) the feeling of what people can bear.”
Susen Rasmussen, PHC’s marketing
director, said the organization remains committed to
providing non-emergency medical transportation services
for the community, but rising costs have forced a
re-evaluation of the program to try and make it more
ProHealth considered outsourcing its
transportation services, according to Rasmussen. A
partner was selected and service was tested earlier this
year, but she said the quality of the service “was not
what we want for our patients.”
“Individuals who have used the service in
the recent past were all contacted (about the price
change),” Rasmussen told The Freeman. “Depending on
their location, a number of private or public
transportation providers may offer service at a lower
Despite the rise in price, Rasmussen
said, it was done to ensure the service - one she said
has been eliminated by several other health care
providers in recent years - is able to continue.
ProHealth has also created a list of
other transportation methods on its website to help
individuals find a ride, and financial assistance is
available to individuals who qualify.
Sue Evenson, a Town of Waukesha resident
who had open heart surgery in January and needed the
service earlier this year, said she was surprised to see
the jump in price. She has since stopped using it and
resumed driving herself.
“There were a lot of us that got up in
arms because we just couldn’t believe it,” Evenson said.
“I called them and I said you’ve got to be kidding me.
You upped (the price) six times? What is the point?’
They said, well we couldn’t afford to ride anymore at
seven dollars ... Eighty dollars to go see a doctor is