By Christina Knoell
San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging
Eligible senior citizens ages 60 and older in Archuleta County may now apply for a nonemergency medical Gas Voucher Program through the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA).
The project is funded by the Older Americans Act, which authorizes federal and state funding to Area Agencies on Aging from the Department of Human Service’s State Unit on Aging in Denver.
With the mission to provide supportive services for seniors living in Archuleta County, Christina Knoell, the executive director of SJBAAA, located in Durango, developed this service by working with the agency’s local board of directors, Beverly Arrendell, Barbara Asprey and Commissioner Ronnie Maez. Each board member has separately expressed that nonemergency medical transportation to areas outside of Pagosa Springs has been a challenge for Archuleta County’s most vulnerable aging population.
Before applying for the gas voucher, anyone eligible for Medicaid assistance must first apply to Medicaid with the help of their case worker for nonemergency medical transportation through the Intelliride website. To be eligible for the SJBAAA program, applicants must have received a denial letter from Medicaid.
For information about the Medicaid transportation program, visit https://gointelliride.com/colorado/ or call (303) 398-2155. Be ready to provide your full name, date of birth and Medicaid member identification number.
Gas vouchers will be issued to eligible older adults with a nonemergency medical appointment in Durango or the surrounding region outside of Archuleta County. They must reside in Archuleta County and business must be conducted in nearby cities that offer medical amenities. Participants may also coordinate with a volunteer driver willing to drive to appointments outside of Archuleta County.
Participants in the gas voucher program must be assessed for eligibility and complete a gas voucher application. A self-directed personal assistance model, the project gives eligible participants control over who drives and when for these nonemergency medical appointments. Once a trip concludes, the participant is awarded the gas voucher, which is redeemed at the Sonoco fuel station in downtown Pagosa Springs. Volunteer drivers are also eligible to receive a gas voucher for driving eligible participants to the appointments.
The gas voucher program is intended for older persons who can make their own travel arrangements and, if a volunteer driver is needed, with a trusted and willing party. Gas vouchers will not be released without proof of nonemergency medical appointments and, if applicable, a transportation denial letter from Medicaid.
Anyone interested in applying and learning about eligibility requirements may contact Debra Herrera at (970) 403-2164.