Care Van is back and ready to roll; service begins March 5
February 27, 2012 · Updated 4:35 PM
As the Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation celebrates 30 years of service on the Plateau, it also will be celebrating Monday’s return of the Care Van.
Because healthcare transportation is a struggle for many in the area, the foundation has made it priority to bring the service back to the Plateau communities and pick up where services were left in August 2010. On average, anywhere from 250 to 300 transports occurred per month for healthcare-related appointments when the service was halted.
The Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation’s Care Van was originally established in 1987 to provide free rides to senior citizens and disabled people needing transportation to the local hospital, pharmacies and local medical offices. The vehicle was originally purchased by the foundation – previously known as the Enumclaw Regional Hospital Foundation – with operational support offered by the hospital; financial support came from the foundation and donors.
In 2007, Enumclaw Regional Hospital became affiliated with Franciscan Health System, which took ownership of the senior transportation program. In August 2010, the Care Van was taken out of service due to limited resources.
In August, the foundation determined the Care Van should return to service and made a priority of finding the financial resources to get the van back in service. In November, Franciscan handed the keys to the van back to the foundation, along with a $15,000 donation to get the transportation program rolling.
The service will not be restricted to seniors or disabled, but transports are for nonemergency rides and must be healthcare related. Hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. In the past, the van averaged about 15 trips a day, so passengers are being encouraged to schedule a ride two to 14 days in advance, if possible.
The van has features like a hydraulic lift for large wheelchairs. It seats eight passengers, plus two wheelchairs.
The Care Van serves residents of Enumclaw, Black Diamond, Bonney Lake, Buckley, Burnett, Carbonado, Cumberland, South Prairie and Wilkeson. To schedule a ride, call 360-284-2444.
Ways to Support the Care Van
The future of the Care Van is dependent on donations and grants. All can donate by visiting
www.enumclawrhf.org and clicking on the “Donate” button, calling 360-802-3206 or stopping by the ERHF office at 1174 Myrtle St. in downtown Enumclaw.