NRoute buses to ferry patients to Claiborne

Published 12:04 pm Thursday, January 27, 2011

On a night when the NRoute Transit Commission announced that month-to-month ridership was down, officials took a second step into the ferrying of medical patients to boost usage of the buses and income.

“It’s basically to help the indigent obtain medical care that they wouldn’t normally be able to get,” Executive Director Evelyn Bumpers said. “They set up a wound care agency in Claiborne County and are going around the state trying to get transportation for people in different counties to go to this wound care facility.”

The commission voted Wednesday to enter into a conditional contract with CPP Wound Care LLC in Claiborne County to provide transportation once a week to Warren County residents who seek treatment at a wound care facility in the neighboring county. Wound Care will pay $50 per person, and one caregiver will be allowed to travel with each patient.

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Commissioners were told ridership was logged this month at 2,376, down from 2,820 in December. The system operates annually on a $781,000 budget funded by city, state and federal funds, along with fees paid by riders.

In November, the agency entered into a $50,000 service agreement with Warren-Yazoo Mental Health to drive members of the Milestone Club House to and from the Wisconsin Avenue facility. The agreement was set to start by December, but the lack of qualified bus drivers delayed the program.

The Claiborne County contract is for an indefinite time period, but allows for cancellation with a two-week notice. The transportation agency is expecting to make a profit with the agreement, but officials said they did not know how much.

“It all depends on utilization by Wound Care and by the patients,” said Mark Buys, incoming president of the NRoute commission, adding this was the first time he had seen the contract.

Also in Wednesday’s meeting, Buys, president of BancorpSouth and a second-term commissioner, was voted president; Alvin Taylor, a retiree of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, was picked to be vice president; and Rose Carson, who was absent, was elected secretary.

Commissioners present were Diane Gawronski, Don Brown, board attorney Landy Teller and Bumpers, who filled in as secretary.