We would like to honor Tortoise Transport in Sterling, Illinois. Stacy, the owner of Tortoise Transport, has a background as a CNA and a Nurse. Stacy started working as a CNA with disabled adults and children prior to becoming a Nurse 9 years ago. After seeing the lack of transportation for her patients, Stacy decided to start a medical transport company. Tortoise Transport now has three vehicles and they provide rides for wheelchair and ambulatory passengers, who may need a little assistance. They primarily serve Lee, Ogle and Whiteside Counties in Illinois, but they also serve the surrounding counties. They pick up passengers all over including from hospitals, facilities, and individuals homes. They transport passengers to different appointments or to simply get prescriptions but some of their favorite trips are when they take their customers to special occasions, like birthday parties or family reunions. Tortoise Transport is not only a door through door service but they go above and beyond. They provide wheeled carts that allow them to carry passengers belongings or groceries upstairs or into the home. They also anticipate obstacles like stairs and provide portable ramps in their vehicles to help passengers who do not have handicap accessible entryways. This makes it safer to wheel or walk passengers into their home.

Stacy recently saw an opportunity to expand her service to bed-bound patients who had limited access to transport. These passengers could not safely be transported in a standard wheelchair and the only alternative was gurney transports, that are expensive and usually done by an ambulance. Stacy also noticed some NEMT providers using a Geri chair to transport bed-bound patients. Stacy was uncomfortable with this option and we agree with her. Geri Chairs are not designed to be secured in a vehicle, let alone to secure a passenger in a vehicle. This alternative can be extremely dangerous and can cause injury to passengers.

May this year, Stacy implemented a crash-tested, WC19 compliant BRODA chair and No-Lift NEMT for a safer way to transport and transfer her passengers. A BRODA chair is similar to Geri chair but it is designed and tested to be transported in a vehicle. This has allowed Tortoise Transport to accommodate bed-bound patients and to transport them home from the hospital or to their doctor appointments. It has also allowed them to provide a service for hospice patients, taking these patients home or to hospice houses. This is saving hundreds of dollars to hospice, patients and their families. Tortoise Transport is bridging the gap in their community by helping people get the care they need to be healthy and happy. Stacy is seeing the success and positive reactions from her clients, she is getting more an more request for her transport services. If I needed a transport service for my patients or family members and lived in Illinois, I would be calling Tortoise Transport and requesting a BRODA chair. Stacy, we want to congratulate you for seeking out and implementing a safer way to transport your passengers and continuing to go above and beyond.