Thunderbird Charities donates $50,000 for patient vehicle

Thanks to a $50,000 grant from Thunderbird Charities, Circle the City will soon be purchasing a van to transport patients experiencing homelessness between its two facilities, the Medical Respite Center and The Parsons Family Health Center, and to offsite appointments.

The grant funds a Ford Transit van that will provide patients with transportation to and from both healthcare facilities, as well as to offsite medical, case management, social service appointments, and to and from Circle the City’s mobile medical clinic, which rotates through local neighborhoods with high incidences of homelessness in Maricopa County, according to a press release.

The new van will be retrofitted to provide wheelchair access and will seat a total of six patients (including two wheelchairs) and a staff driver.

“We are so thankful to Thunderbirds Charities for granting us the ability to purchase this vehicle, which will serve as a bridge for our patients’ healthcare services, allowing our patients better access to the healthcare they need and in a timely manner,” stated Brandon Clark, Circle the City’s chief executive officer, in the release.

In 2014, Circle the City conducted a homeless outreach community health needs assessment survey.

Cost was cited as the main barrier to receiving medical care while transportation was listed as the second highest deterrent. The goal of Circle the City’s transportation program is to improve healthcare accessibility to this underserved population, which in turn will help in establishing integrated primary care, case management, behavioral health, and substance abuse treatment services for adults and children in Maricopa County.

On top of the benefits to patients, the new van is expected to reduce the burden on the emergency services system, the release stated. Patients will be able to utilize Circle the City’s transportation services instead of calling 911 in order to receive the non-emergency medical care they need.

“The patient transportation van will not only assist the underserved in our community, but it will serve our community as a whole,” stated Danny Calihan, president of Thunderbirds Charities, in the release. “We are happy to be able to support Circle the City and this much needed program for the community.”

Thunderbirds Charities is a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to distribute monies raised through the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament.

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