Employment provides people with a sense of purpose. For individuals with an intellectual disability or behavioral health diagnosis, transportation can be a barrier to finding and maintaining employment. The Corey M. Stoltz Transportation Program is a creative ride program in Kansas that helps members of Medicaid get to and from work.
The program is known by its slogan: More Than Just a Ride. Johnson County recently renamed the program in honor of Corey Stoltz, who is part of the Community Outreach team at UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas. Corey has provided training and supervision to 60 peers who serve as drivers, giving members rides and providing vital one-on-one support.
Transportation Can Inhibit Access to Employment
There are many obstacles that can make getting to and from work more challenging for individuals with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health diagnoses. Many individuals do not have a driver’s license and public transportation may not be a viable option. The challenges became even greater during COVID-19 when individuals may have had to change their living arrangements.
Public transportation can be especially difficult when a job falls outside of traditional working hours. In these cases, the public transportation schedule doesn’t match up with an employee’s required job shift and that individual must wait longer periods of time to get to their destination. Similarly, if employment takes place in a remote location, a person may long or complex public transportation routes. Sometimes, the amount of time it takes to get to and from work can be longer than the time spent working.
Individuals with intellectual disabilities or a behavioral health diagnosis may also have concerns or feel uncomfortable riding public transportation. This can be due to fears about security, anxiety about potential harassment or feeling overstimulated in a public environment.
Pairing Members with Peer Specialists for One-on-One Support
The Corey M. Stoltz Transportation Program helps members overcome these challenges by giving them private rides to and from work. The program is open to members of the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas who are having transportation challenges and want to pursue vocational goals.
Trained peer support specialists give members rides to and from work, as well as one-on-one support. The program recently added four additional peer specialists to its existing driver workforce. Vehicles were fitted with special transparent barriers to protect drivers and riders from COVID-19.
Through her management of the project, Corey has made over 1,000 trips a month possible for UnitedHealthcare members, while supporting the employment of peer drivers.
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas is proud to support the Corey M. Stoltz program with sponsorship funding and through engaged, supportive leadership. Corey and our team's innovation and dedication affirms our commitment to creating partnerships that help empower our members to live their healthiest lives.
More Than Just a Ride for Some Members
Helping individuals overcome transportation barriers so they can get to work creates greater self-sufficiency and an opportunity to use their talents and participate in community life. This can also lead to greater well-being.
The program also provides employment to members who become peer specialists. Members with driver’s licenses who are working toward their own vocational goals are trained to become peer specialists.
In this way, the program not only supports members, but also creates new jobs for individuals who may have had barriers finding employment. It’s another way the Corey M. Stoltz Transportation Program stays true to its motto: More Than Just a Ride.