HOLMES COUNTY — Changes to health insurance coverage in recent years is making non-emergency transportation more accessible when the service is medically necessary.

Holmes County EMS Director Steve Connell said the service has been offered locally since 2005, yet many residents have not realized they qualify for medical transportation provided at no cost to the patient in most cases.

Transport is offered from a patient’s residence to a hospital or appointment at a doctor’s office. Other uses include out-patient surgery, dialysis, lab work and therapy. Patients are often transported to appointments in Panama City, Dothan, Pensacola, Gainesville and any other mileage distances approved by the insurance provider, which is usually Medicaid and other private insurance.

Transportation service is prearranged with Holmes County EMS and the insurance company before patients take a ride. There are no ambulances with sirens or flashing lights used. Patients ride in a van outfitted with a stretcher. No life support or medical monitoring is provided.

Connell said the ride is more comfortable than sitting up in a car for most.

For more information about utilizing Holmes County EMS’s non-emergency transport service or to schedule transportation, contact Betty Scott at 850-547-4671.