Meritus initiative means patients won’t miss appointments because they don’t have a ride

  • Date: 06/07/2024

A Meritus Health initiative has made it possible for Joan Yarlick and hundreds of other patients to get to medical appointments they otherwise would have missed due to a lack of transportation.

Yarlick moved to Hagerstown 10 years ago, leaving behind her car in California. To get to the doctor, she had relied on other public and free forms of transportation, but they grew unreliable and unfriendly.

“That’s when I noticed the Meritus vans in the neighborhood,” the Baltimore native said. “The next time I had an appointment, I asked about them.”

Yarlick was among the early users this year of the Meritus Transportation initiative. As Meritus leaders continued to note a barrier for community members receiving care was a lack of transportation, they looked further into the issue.

Meritus Medical Center

“We are committed that no one in Washington County, for any circumstance, will miss a medical appointment due to transportation issues,” said Maulik Joshi, Meritus president and CEO. “Understanding barriers to receiving important care is paramount to improving the health of our community. We will continue to develop and expand our program to support the community’s need.”

Meritus has eight vans, and those scheduling medical appointments are asking patients if they need transportation to coordinate a ride, no matter where in the health system they’re going. The service is already averaging more than 300 rides per week, which equates to more than 15,000 free rides a year.

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