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Via’s Executive Director Raises Transportation Concern of proposed Longmont UC Health Hospital

By Karen Antonacci
Staff Writer   Link to full article in the Times-Call 
Via does not take a position on a fifth hospital being built in Boulder County.


Transportation

There are now no Regional Transportation District buses serving the area where the new hospital is planned. That’s a fairly big problem for Via Mobility Services, a Boulder-based nonprofit that provides transportation to people with disabilities, elderly people or others.

Executive Director Lenna Kottke said Via added 600 people from Longmont last year but has not been able to increase service in the city for the last five years due to financial constraints.

Via made about 2,000 trips to Longmont United in 2014, and a quarter of all trips taken in Longmont are for some kind of medical appointment, Kottke said.

“Longmont United is an easier location for us to serve because it’s right in the heart of the city, and we can combine other trips with trips to LUH,” Kottke said. “But that outlying area, it’s going to be very costly and inefficient to serve.”

Although Via has some relationships with volunteer drivers in Weld County, Kottke described them as “overwhelmed.”

She said that while the new hospital is still in the planning stages, it’s the perfect time to work out how it will get people to their hospital appointments.

“Whether they want to work with Via or the hospital wants to develop its own service, there needs to be some thought on how people will get there if they’re not able to drive,” Kottke said.

Robinson said there haven’t been those conversations around transportation yet but that they are important.

“Transportation in an outlying community is a challenge for a lot of people,” Robinson said. “We plan to enter a conversation with folks in the local market to see how to best provide that.”

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