Turning Point has partnered with Medical Answering Services (MAS), a New York State Medicaid-funded program based out of Syracuse, to provide bus tokens to connect people on Medicaid with medical appointments. This partnership was made possible through the efforts of the Institute for Human Services (IHS).
Turning Point is still able to provide a limited amount of bus tokens per person per month for medical appointments—a service made possible through IHS funding—regardless of whether a person has Medicaid. However, with this new partnership, there is no limit to the number of bus tokens Turning Point can provide to connect people on Medicaid with medical appointments. Turning Point is the only agency in Steuben County to offer this service to the public.
People on Medicaid are able to call MAS to request bus tokens for medical appointments. The tokens are sent via mail, taking time that a person may not have the luxury to wait. Medicaid recipients can still choose this route, but with this new partnership, people on Medicaid don’t have to wait for their bus tokens to arrive in the mail. Instead, Medicaid recipients can go directly to any one of four Turning Point locations across Steuben County for bus tokens to connect with medical appointments.
Turning Point Director Lynda Lowin said, “Turning Point has been assisting people with transportation needs as part of our services for 20 years. Primarily we offer bus tokens at no cost for social and human service assistance, for employment interviews or initial job training until a first paycheck arrives, and also for medical appointments. Turning Point distributed over 600 bus tokens in June 2017, and nearly 50% of them were used to transport 98 people to various medical appointments.
“Starting in July, with our new status as a Medicaid Transportation Site, we can give Medicaid members direct, unlimited bus token assistance to those appointments. Turning Point staff offer a personal connection to a system that is statewide, and not easy to navigate using a centralized phone service. With the support of staff, we can engage with Medicaid members in our office, provide the tokens and public transportation education and advocacy needed to overcome transportation barriers. This service is an important part of Community Navigation services that Turning Point provides as part of recent Medicaid redesign.”
Turning Point locations include: Turning Point Bath, 23 Liberty Street, Bath, NY; Turning Point Corning, 1 Park Lane, Corning, NY (co-located with the Corning Senior Center); Turning Point Hornell, 20 Elm Street, Suite 2, Hornell, NY; or Steuben County Rural Ministry, 34 West Main Street, Canisteo, NY.
If a person cannot get to a medical appointment by bus, Medicaid recipients can still call MAS for alternate modes of transportation. In Steuben County, the MAS number to call is 1-855-733-9401.
Turning Point also provides bus tokens to connect people to their place of work, other food pantries, the Department of Social Services, human service agency appointments, and the Bath VA. Bus tokens are made available to Turning Point to distribute through the generosity of IHS.