BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Cascades East Transit is launching on Veterans Day a new Veterans Healthcare Transportation Service in Crook, Jefferson and Deschutes counties, as well as the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, to help Central Oregon veterans reach health care-related destinations.
"This service will fill an important gap in transportation services for veterans, especially those living in rural areas of the region, by providing access to doctor’s appointments, VA clinics, pharmacies and other important medical and healthcare services and facilities," CET said in Wednesday's announcement, which continues below:.
The VHTS is funded through a partnership between the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Public Transit Division of the Oregon Department of Transportation. The funds were awarded to Jefferson County and were distributed throughout the region for veterans in Central Oregon to access transportation services at no cost for their health care needs.
This funding allows CET to expand services to offer veterans an ADA-accessible, curb-to-curb service similar to Dial-A-Ride.
Theresa Conley, ODOT's Region 4 regional transit coordinator, said, “This program will help provide Central Oregon veterans with a reliable way to get to vital services, such as health care, all around the region. It’s a great example of regional partners coming together to improve the quality of life for those who have served, and we’re proud to be able to help.”
CET Interim Transportation Director Andrea Breault said, “We are excited to make this program successful and support veterans across our region who need access to health care services.”
CET is working collaboratively with veteran service offices in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties, as well as the American Legion in Warm Springs, to coordinate outreach efforts with veteran clients.
Jeff Rasmussen, the Jefferson County administrator, noted, “The dedication and support of community and regional partners in developing this program provides a valuable resource to our veterans and their families. This service will have a significant and positive impact on the ability of our veteran’s to access healthcare services throughout the area.”
Veterans who are interested in utilizing this transportation service should contact CET’s Call Center (541-385-8680) in advance of requested rides to ensure CET has all relevant eligibility information. CET’s Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 7am - 4pm to schedule VHTS rides. For more information about VHTS and to access Veteran Service Office contact information, please visit https://cascadeseasttransit.com/about/vet-rides/.
CET will continue to implement health and public safety guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority for VHTS trips to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Information about CET’s health and safety protocols for all transit services can be found at www.cascadeseasttransit.com.
Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) was designated a Council of Governments in 1972 under ORS 190. Cascades East Transit, operated by COIC, provides fixed-route and Dial-A-Ride services in Bend, Community Connector regional services, general public Dial-A-Ride services in Redmond, La Pine, Prineville, Sisters, and Madras, flex-route service in Warm Springs and recreational routes like Ride the River, Lava Butte, and the Mt. Bachelor shuttle.