PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — We’ve all been asked to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, and avoid non-essential travel. But for people who need life-saving treatments, that’s not an option. The people who get them to those appointments are more important than ever.
“Well, I do dialysis. I’ve gone for the last 12 years. I run from 5:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,” said LaShawnda Huff. “It keeps me living. It’s part of my life.”
“We transport individuals to and from chemotherapy, dialysis, methadone treatment. We do secure transportation. We get individuals to life-sustaining appointments,” said Malcolm Ricks with Safe Transportation.
Ricks is the general manager of Safe Transportation. The company is one of a network of more than 85 non-emergency medical transport providers through Care Oregon. Clients including Huff are covered by the Oregon Health Plan.
“We love it. It’s more of a passion than anything else,” said Ricks.
Twenty-four years ago, Safe Transportation starting with taking special needs students to and from school. Today, it has 36 vehicles of differing types, depending on need. There is no school transport now, but COVID-19 has made their service even more critical. They’re sanitizing their vehicles before and after every trip.
“And the whole idea is that you’re transporting somebody who already has a compromised immune system,” said Ricks. “People don’t think about people who go to dialysis on a daily basis.”
For Huff, it’s literally a life-saver.
“They get out—they’re real polite—open the door, help you get in, make sure you’re comfortable,” said Huff.
Safe Transportation has 26 employees. Many of them have had to use the services themselves at one point or know someone who has.