Friday, 06 August 2010 00:00
Four months after introducing a program offering town residents age 60 and over transportation at nominal cost for non-emergency medical visits, Supervisor Jon Kaiman and the North Hempstead Town Board announced last week that the initiative has serviced its 1,000th ride since its April 1 debut. The milestone of the town-wide medical transportation program, which is operated under the auspices of Project Independence, coincided with the opening in Roslyn Heights of the headquarters for the Town’s Department of Services for the Aging (DOSA), home of Project Independence.
“It’s critical to be able to get around when you are not able to drive anymore,” Supervisor Kaiman said. “Helping our seniors get to non-emergency medical visits meets a critical need cited time and again by town seniors.”
Sue Vigilis of Port Washington, took the 1,000th ride of the non-emergency medical transportation program. She said that because of Long Island’s lack of public transportation, she had been contemplating moving to the city after almost 50 years in her community.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity to stay here,” she said. “Please continue the program for those who are going to need it in the future.”
Looking down the road, Supervisor Kaiman said, DOSA’s new administrative headquarters will allow Project Independence and the menu of programs it operates to continue to grow. Designed primarily to help seniors remain in their own homes and the communities of their choice, Project Independence is staffed to respond to requests for assistance ranging from blood pressure or diabetes screening to information on health and fitness, support groups and counseling.
Community-based education seminars, volunteer opportunities and other services are also available simply by calling 311.
Presently, Project Independence operates from three sites within the town, New Hyde Park, the Great Neck Senior Center and the Port Washington Senior Center, in addition to the new administrative headquarters. The long-term plan is to establish a total of eight locations throughout North Hempstead.
The non-emergency, low-cost, medical transportation program, which is funded by a grant from State Senator Craig Johnson, provides participants with taxi transportation to and from doctors, dentists and outpatient treatment appointments. A second transportation initiative, which like the medical program is operated in partnership with local taxi companies, gives seniors in the town free rides to selected local supermarkets.
The program underscores Supervisor Kaiman’s commitment to partnering with the private sector, whenever possible. In this case of the Transportation Programs, the Town partnered with DeLux Taxi, All Island Transportation, Taxi Hispano Express and LI Checker Cab.
Thanking the Town for “an incredible program,” State Senator Craig Johnson told the gathering at the press briefing: “The funding I manage to secure is your money, cash I’m determined to make available to help those without the wherewithal to get out of their homes. I plan to make sure Project Independence continues to thrive.”
Project Independent staff works with and is in close contact with community-based advisory councils in each program location and with health care partner, North Shore/LIJ, and several social service associates.
“As the lifespan of Americans increase along with the nation’s population of seniors, a program like Project Independence and the services it offers are truly a godsend,” said Town Councilman Thomas Dwyer. “Availing them with the opportunity to remain in their own homes near family and friends enhances their quality of life.”
Without question, the medical visit transportation program “has made life better for us seniors,” said Port Washington resident Imogene Alberman.
For more information about the medical transportation program, Project Independence or the array of services it offers, call 311.