FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

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About Cancer Treatments and Transportation

Some Facts

  • How severe and widespread is the problem of transportation?

    • “Transportation to treatment facilities continues to be one of the biggest roadblocks our patients face. . . . This is incredibly problematic because when patients cannot physically get to the hospital, they miss appointments, delay their care, and occasionally will forgo their prescribed treatment altogether.” — Erin Singleton, Chief of Mission Delivery at the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF, emphasis added).
    • “In 2015, approximately 15% of patients cited they experienced transportation-related barriers to care issues. . . with difficulty increasing the further away the treating facility was from their home. Patients experiencing transportation concerns reported traveling nearly 30 miles farther one-way than those who did not have transportation issues.” — Erin Singleton, Chief of Mission Delivery at the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF, emphasis added).
    • “Some patients skip scheduled treatments due to complications in travel. There is an abundance of antidotal evidence that long trips to Houston have created great anxiety for the patient and the caregiver. Such stress can only deteriorate the benefits of the treatments made available at MD Anderson. In essence, hope is often lost.” —Lynsay Gaines, a social worker at MD Anderson (notes from a personal interview, emphases added).
    • “State-of-the art cancer treatments are not available across all segments of the population. Consequently, disparities in cancer treatment and outcomes persist for medically underserved populations such as racial and ethnic minority groups, the uninsured or underinsured, rural populations, and the elderly.” — American Cancer Society (emphasis added).
  • Typically, how often will a patient be seeking transportation assistance?

    • Transportation has been a considerable issue for patients that need to travel in from rural areas. . . . If the patient needs radiation, treatment can be as little as one visit to as often as daily (M-F) for 6 or more weeks. If the patient requires chemotherapy, treatment may be daily, weekly, every 2-3 weeks, or some variation of that. This will be standard regardless of where the patient may be receiving treatment.” — Jennifer Haven, a social work nurse at Baylor Scott & White (emphasis added).

 

  • How many cancer patients are living In the counties you have identified for your first route?

    • According to the Texas Cancer Registry, there are 10,298 total cancer cases reported in Mills, Brown, Comanche, Hamilton, Coryell, Bell, and Milam counties. According to a formulated calculation using the Registry and data provided by MD Anderson, Driving Hope estimates 50 patients a week will be needing transportation to MD Anderson from those counties alone.

 

  • Who else provides transportation? Why not just call an Uber?

    • Most ride service operations are urban and local. Driving Hope of Texas seeks to fill the gap by providing rural and long-distance transportation.
    • Most taxi-type services are not set up for long-distance transportation.
    • There is a higher concentration of ride services and public transportation options in the larger cities. Rural patients have fewer good choices.
    • There are very few such ride services that are suitable for non-emergency medical transportation, especially when riders are not provided a controlled environment as needed by cancer patients who are undergoing treatment.

 

  • Can a patient get financial assistance to help pay for their transportation?

    • Some insurance policies will reimburse patients for transportation to obtain the required treatments.
    • The American Cancer Society (ACS) offers grants to treatment centers to provide vouchers for needy patients. They also maintain a program that identifies partner organizations and individual volunteers who can help arrange transportation. From those efforts, ACS reports, “In Texas alone, the Society provided 2,223 cancer patients with rides to their treatment appointments in 2017, but 16,247 additional requests went unmet” (emphasis added).

About Driving Hope of Texas

Our Business Plan

  • Is Driving Hope a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization?

    • Yes. The tax-exempt letter of affirmation is on file and can be found by searching the IRS official database.

 

  • How expensive will the rides be?

    • By conducting fundraisers like the Glimmer of Hope benefit, Driving Hope seeks to fund the van itself from sources other than ticket income. This means that the cost for the patient and caregiver will be manageable.
    • Currently, the business plan looks to charge just $.58 per mile per passenger.
    • Supporters are urged to sponsor trips by buying a coupon that can be claimed by riders. A $200 coupon will provide any rider along the route a ride to or from any treatment center along the way. The donor will be able to designate it to a particular rider, or offer it to just anyone who needs the ride. Personal notes of encouragement will make the coupon that much more valuable.

 

  • Why do you need such a fancy Mercedes-Benz van?

    • This German manufacturer has brought a new class of cargo/work van to the United States in recent years. One can see many of these on the road today. The vans are unparalleled in their safety features—something that is of utmost importance to Driving Hope. The model we hope to obtain has dual rear wheels for extra traction and stability.
    • The van has a diesel engine, which typically has a longer lifespan than a gasoline motor. Meanwhile, the diesel engine idles much cooler than the gas version—this may become a critically important feature in summer months in Houston traffic.
    • This class of cargo van is long enough to include an onboard toilet and luggage space along with belted seating for up to eight riders and a driver. The interior is built by a third party.

 

  • Where will riders be picked up?

    • The inaugural service will be called the Leon Vally Route. The current business plan calls for three weekly inbound trips (to Houston), with stops in Goldthwaite (Mills County), Brownwood (Brown County), Comanche (Comanche County), Hamilton (Hamilton County), Gatesville (Coryell County), Temple/Baylor Scott & White (Bell County), and Cameron (Milam County). The route ends at the check-in center at MD Anderson in Houston.
    • The following day, the route is reversed to outbound. There is no service on Saturday.
    • The pickup locations are yet to be finalized, but they are likely to be the local Baylor Scott & White clinics, churches, or other suitable places (with free and safe parking).

 

  • Are other passengers allowed?

    • Driving Hope of Texas highly encourages one caregiver to ride along, but they have to have a ticket. Non-patient children or comfort animals are not allowed.

 

  • How will a rider get a ticket?

    • There are several rider apps available for transportation services like Driving Hope. While the mobile app of choice is yet to determined, the organization’s website already has a working prototype of a ticketing system in place. They also may be booked by phone: 800-674-3489.
    • The trip would have to be booked several days in advance (still TBD).

 

  • Will the van have a wheelchair lift?

    • This feature is not a requirement for a transportation service like Driving Hope. The first van will only accept ambulatory (walking) patients healthy enough to get in and out without too much difficulty.
    • The trade-off is that the seats in the van will provide a much better long-distance ride experience for the patient.

 

  • Are your drivers all volunteers?

    • All our drivers will be paid professionals, though most will be just part-time and on call. They will earn a small stipend for their services.
      Driving Hope will add drivers as the service grows, but the service will maintain a high standard when it comes to background and driving records.
    • All drivers must pass the Passenger Assistance Safety and Sensitivity (PASS) certification offered by the Community Transportation Association of America.

 

  • How can I get involved?

    • Driving Hope of Texas is governed by a Board of Directors.
    • There is a class of membership called the Advisory Board, which is made up of supporters who have legal, financial, or medical expertise.
    • Finally, there are general supporters and volunteers called Members.
    • Anyone can become a member by registering on www.drivinghopetexas.org.
      Alternatively, write info@drivinghopetexas.org or send mail to 13711 Iron Bridge Park Rd., Moody, TX 76557. 800-674-3489 (DHTX).

Memberships are accepted, but no rides can be booked at this time. Check back often. Dismiss