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Paratransit Services RiverCities LIFT Management and Staff Honored on WSDOT “Wall of Fame”

Wenatchee, Washington – September 18-21, 2016 . Paratransit Services General Manager Betsy DeSpain and her staff in Longview, Washington, were named to the 2016 Wall of Fame at the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) 40th Annual Public Transportation Conference held September 18-21 at the Wenatchee Convention Center.

Ms. DeSpain has been General Manager for Paratransit Services’ RiverCities LIFT operation since 2005. RiverCities LIFT is the ADA public transit complement to RiverCities Transit, the fixed route system (operated by the City of Longview) serving the cities of Longview and Kelso.

In receiving Wall of Fame honors, Ms. DeSpain was acknowledged for her emphasis on the “values of safety and positive, supportive professionalism,” as demonstrated by her outstanding efforts to keep her buses running last winter during weather conditions so harsh that Governor Inslee declared a State of Emergency. During heavy rains, flooding, landslides, and road closures, Ms. DeSpain was the first to arrive and the last to depart the transit command center, playing a pivotal role in minimizing disruptions to the ADA transportation system that provides a vital service for people with special needs.

In addition to Ms. DeSpain’s individual award, her RiverCities LIFT staff was honored as well for their work during those severe winter conditions. As stated on their award plaque, they “rose to the challenge of keeping RiverCities LIFT running as smoothly as possible. They knew their work provides an important community connection for seniors and people with disabilities, and they did not want to allow the weather to break that link.”

Paratransit Services, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) company based in Bremerton, Washington, has provided accessible public transportation in the Longview/Kelso area under contract with the City of Longview since 1997.

Paratransit Services General Manager, BetsyDeSpain; and RiverCities Transit Manager Amy Asher.

Paratransit Services General Manager for RiverCities LIFT, BetsyDeSpain (left, holding awards); RiverCities Transit Manager Amy Asher.

Paratransit Services Receives Honors at 2016 CalACT Spring Conference and Expo

La Jolla, California – March 29, 2016. Paratransit Services, a nonprofit transportation services company based in Bremerton, Washington, was recognized during the CalACT 2016 Spring Conference and Expo for outstanding work done by the company’s California staff during the wildfires that raged throughout the northern part of the state last summer and fall. The Conference was held in La Jolla, California, March 28 – 31.

Paratransit Services operates public transit systems in Calaveras and Lake Counties in California, and the company’s drivers and other personnel based in the communities of San Andreas and Lower Lake worked with first responders to move people threatened by the fires to safe locations.

As a result of these evacuation efforts, and assistance provided in setting up shelters and helping people who were displaced, Paratransit Services, Calaveras Transit, and Lake Transit Authority received Q’Straint “2016 Above and Beyond" Awards at a March 29 Conference luncheon. In addition, Wanda Gray, Paratransit Services’ General Manager based in Lake County, received a CalACT "2016 Transportation Manager of the Year Award."

CalACT (California Association for Coordinated Transportation) is a statewide California nonprofit trade organization representing “small, rural, and specialized transportation providers.” Paratransit Services has been a member since 1989.

Paratransit Services 2016 CalACT awards.

Paratransit Services Receives Pediatric Dentistry “Barrier Buster” Honors

Seattle, Washington – May 20, 2015. University of Washington Department of Pediatric Dentistry (UWDPD) has selected Bremerton nonprofit company Paratransit Services as one of only two organizations to receive its first “Barrier Buster” awards. The other recipient selected was Seattle-King County Public Health Outreach. This new award recognizes organizations who work to overcome barriers to oral health for low-income children in Washington State

“These recipients made a positive difference to our low-income patients’ oral health,” said UWDPD Social Worker Heather Marks. “They have made a special effort in working with us over the years to remove barriers to care that would have kept hundreds of Medicaid-eligible children state-wide from getting to a dentist for preventive and restorative care. As a social worker, a major focus of my job is to help families gain access to care—to overcome barriers.”

As a transportation scheduler for the Washington State Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) program, Paratransit Services plays an important part in facilitating transportation to the UW Center for Pediatric Dentistry in Seattle for Medicaid-eligible children who live outside King County. Many of these children, some of whom are disabled or who have profound dental disease, are unable to get appropriate treatment closer to home due to the lack of dental facilities equipped to treat them, or a shortage of facilities that accept Medicaid patients. An additional complication was a “Catch 22” situation where these children would only be eligible to receive transportation assistance for out-of-county treatment if they were referred by a local dentist, but it is because of the lack of availability of local dentists to see these patients that the transportation assistance was needed.

To address this dilemma, Paratransit Services NEMT Customer Service Supervisor Terry May toured the Center for Pediatric Dentistry in Seattle last year and met with staff there to explore ways of removing roadblocks to dental care access, a goal shared by both organizations. This was a very successful collaboration, as protocols were established within NEMT and UWDPD program guidelines that streamlined the scheduling process for out-of-county children who need the types of treatment provided at the Center.

During a public outreach event held at the UWDPD Magnuson Park facility in Seattle on May 20, Terry May from Paratransit Services, and Daphne Pie, Manager of Seattle-King County Public Health Outreach were presented with “Barrier Buster” awards in recognition of their “Outstanding Leadership” in helping to overcome barriers to children’s oral health care. Joining Heather Marks for the presentation ceremony were Joel H. Berg, Dean of the UW School of Dentistry; and Rebecca L. Slayton, Chair, Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

Barrier Buster Awards

Left to right: Joel H. Berg, Dean of the UW School of Dentistry; Daphne Pie, Manager of Seattle-King County Public Health Outreach; Heather Marks, University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry Social Worker; Terry May, Paratransit Services NEMT Regional Supervisor; and Rebecca L. Slayton, Chair, Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

Governor Inslee Signs Bill Supporting Nonprofit Insurance Pools

Olympia, Washington – April 25, 2015. As Paratransit Services’ Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer Darlene Riley and others looked on, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5119 into law on April 25. The Bill removes nonprofit insurance pools from the regulations covering governmental pools, and places them in their own section of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). The Bill also clarifies rules restricting co-mingling of funds between public entities and nonprofits, and it allows Washington State nonprofit insurance pools to have multistate authority.

Paratransit Services, a nonprofit company based in Bremerton, Washington, is a contract operator of public transit systems in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. Insurance expenses are a significant part of transit system operating costs, and without the ability to join an insurance pool, it would be difficult for nonprofit operators like Paratransit Services to compete against larger, national and international transit corporations. The Non Profit Insurance Program (NPIP) provides a means for Paratransit Services and other Washington nonprofit companies to gain access to affordable insurance, with the coverage that is needed.

Darlene Riley, who is an NPIP Board Member, had provided testimony to both the Senate and House Committees as an advocate of the Bill, which was sponsored in the Senate by Senators Jan Angel and Mark Mullet.

Governor Inslee Bill Signing

Present for the signing at the Governor’s conference room in Olympia were, standing, left to right in photo: Arlen Harris, Washington DES; Darlene Riley, EVP/CFO, Paratransit Services and NPIP Board Member; Jarrett Sacks, Washington DES; Eric Homer, VP, Clear Risk Solutions; Madelyn Carlson, CEO, People for People and NPIP Board Member; Lynn McGuire, Deputy Director, Washington DES; Sarah McDonnell, Clear Risk Solutions and NPIP Assistant Administrator; Teresita Torres, Waypoint Consulting Group, LLC. Seated: Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

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