Medical transportation service expands to Springfield
By Gabe House
“Medical transportation is probably the fastest growing business outside of the medical industry, because it’s married to it,” said Anthony Cherry, co-owner and operator of Alpha and Omega Transit Network. “When they grow, we grow.”
And they both appear to be growing.
Alpha and Omega is a medical transportation company that drives patients to and from doctor and medical appointments of all sorts, as well as delivering medical supplies. Standard non-emergency transportation is $2 per mile while a wheelchair-accessible van is $3.50 per mile, according to their website. Cherry said they’ve been doing well since opening in Decatur more than two years ago, but the decision to open a Springfield office was a fairly easy one.
“The big reason was a push behind insurance companies dealing with medical transportation and a lot of our clients were coming out of Springfield, so we wanted to service them better,” Cherry said.
Cherry said his past experience as an operations manager with another company coupled with his research led to the formation of Alpha and Omega with co-owner Charles Doty.
“I saw the need growing and saw a need in our community,” Cherry said. “We just got up and running and have been going ever since. There are two other companies in the Springfield area that perform a similar service as us, but I don’t really look at that as competition, just other options for people.”
Although the Springfield office opened in the last two months – the grand opening is Aug. 1 – Alpha and Omega has been operating in Springfield for six months. Cherry estimates their business has consistently grown between three to five percent each of those months. He attributes that to Alpha and Omega’s willingness to spread the word and make connections.
“Once a (medical transport) company is plugged into a particular venue, such as a hospital or an insurance company that feeds them clients, they become comfortable and maybe don’t do a lot of marketing,” Cherry said. “But we believe in going out and building relationships with other facilities and other entities that utilize our services as well, not just the hospitals and insurance companies.”
Another factor in the company’s success, Cherry explained, is Alpha and Omega’s diversified services. In addition to ferrying people to and from appointments and delivering medical supplies, the company has also begun driving those involved in workers compensation cases who are unable to drive themselves. People may be released to work once again, Cherry explained, but can’t drive.
Alpha and Omega currently employs 13 full-time drivers between the Springfield and Decatur offices.
“Their driving record has to be clear, we perform a background check that has to be clear, (they have to be) drug-free and there is no special licensing unless required by the city,” Cherry said. “We have a mixture of different vehicles. We have vans, what we call our ‘mother minivans,’ we have wheelchair-accessible lifts in certain vans and our sedans primarily for patient transportation.”
Another boon for business, Cherry said, has been the Affordable Care Act or what is colloquially referred to as Obamacare. The often-contentious health care reform has led to numerous revisions in health insurance policies, chief among them being preventative measures such as medical transportation.
“A wonderful thing I’m enjoying about Obamacare demanding that people be given access to health care (is that) a lot of insurance companies have policies with medical transportation attached to it now,” Cherry said. “They want to manage the care of the client, and the best way to do that is to get them to their appointments so they stay out of the hospital. It’s just a perfect match for us.”
Gabe House works in the lending department at United Community Bank. He can be reached at 217-787-3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org