Stony Brook University Cancer Center Offers Free Bus Service to Improve Access to Care
Community-based initiative serves patients throughout Suffolk County
STONY BROOK, N.Y., January 9, 2013 – Stony Brook University Cancer Center has initiated a free transportation service for cancer patients to and from their homes throughout Suffolk County in an effort to provide access to care for patients who need chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and have limited resources to get to the Cancer Center.
The Non-Emergency Transportation (NET) program began in November and operates Monday through Thursday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Recommendations for the service come from Cancer Center social workers; already more than 25 transports have been made. To qualify for the service, patients complete an application signed by their medical provider.
According to Yusuf Hannun, MD, Director, Stony Brook University Cancer Center, Vice Dean, Cancer Medicine, and the Joel Kenny Professor of Medicine, most patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy require frequent visits to the hospital.
“Transportation has been an obstacle for many of our patients who live in Suffolk County,” said Dr. Hannun. “Offering free transportation to and from the Cancer Center is one more way we can serve our patients and ease the burden of their treatment journey.”
The idea of the transportation service was initiated by Linda Bily, Cancer Patient Advocacy & Community Outreach Coordinator, and Darlene Kenny, LCSW, Social Worker at the Cancer Center. Debbie Wunderlich, a member of the Cancer Center’s Advisory Board, arranged for the bus to be donated by We Transport in Nassau County. The vehicle was painted by volunteers from Splashes of Hope, a non-profit agency based in Huntington, NY. Penny’s North Country Car Care in St. James, NY, donated repair services. Through an online voting co-sponsored by Warex Terminals Corporation and CITGO Petroleum Corporation and its Fueling Good program, Stony Brook University Hospital employees helped win $5,000 in free gas for the vehicle.
“This is a unique hospital-based program,” Bily said. “Obtaining and refurbishing the bus was a true community partnership in every sense of the word.” For more information, call (631) 638-0913 or (631) 638-0004.
PHOTO CAPTION: Renee Wolanski, Transportation Coordinator, gets behind the wheel of Stony Brook University Cancer Center’s new bus to assist cancer patients in making trips to and from the Center.
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