A ride share service person interacting with a phone app

Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Partners with LYFT

There are so many services offered to people with MS that are often overlooked. One organization that routinely offers many of these services that improve the quality of life to individuals with MS is the MS Focus, Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. You might know MS Focus because they have an annual cooling campaign that gives away cooling equipment to people who apply. They also have grants for people who need assistance with a special project such as building a ramp into a home or relocating a washer and dryer to make it accessible. They also have a computer technology program to help people who don’t have access to computers. You can find all of these services on their website.

Transportation services

How many of you have struggled with getting to your neurology office, infusion centers or therapy appointment because you don’t drive or no one is available to take you? Perhaps you live in one county but those services are in another county and your paratransit service has been able to get you there because they are not permitted to leave their home county?

Assistance to get to medical appointments

The MS Focus has added a service that I want to be sure everyone knows about. In a partnership with the rideshare company LYFT, MS Focus is now offering assistance to get to medical appointments. Through their Transportation Assistance Grant program, MS Focus and Lyft can help with your transportation to and from appointments. MS Focus also will help with paratransit fees and minor car repairs.

Lyft program requirements

The Lyft program has a few requirements, which include having a cell phone that supports text messaging to use LYFT to call for a driver. You also must be able to transfer in and out of a car, because at this point there are very few Lyft drivers who have wheelchair transport vans and the drivers are not permitted to help with the transfer. It is ok to bring a support person with you to help with transfer. MS Focus and Lyft are working to improve that problem of vehicles that can handle wheelchairs.

This program, like the others ones with MS Focus, is a need-based program and you will be asked to apply for the aid through a simple process which can be done online or in a print application.

Reaction to program

"There was tremendous excitement about this program from the healthcare providers in attendance at the Consortium for MS Centers annual meeting in Seattle, who told us that transportation is one of the biggest obstacles their patients face. Through our partnership with Lyft, and with support from Genentech, we're breaking down that barrier and helping the MS community have better access to the care they need," said Natalie Blake, Director of Program Services for MS Focus: The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

I hope you are also excited to know there is a partner like the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation helping to make access to care easier for everyone. Don't be shy if you can use the help, MS Focus is there for all of us.

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