Black and White cabs offer aid to those with medical needs

A Black and White Transportation Service vehicle in 2015.
A Black and White Transportation Service vehicle in 2015.

For some suffering non-emergency medical concerns, access to care is a taxicab away.

Lucas County commissioners at their regular meeting this week approved continuing an agreement with Toledo-based Black & White Transportation, a car service that ensures rapid patient assistance to a hospital or clinic.

Job and Family Services oversees the program. It is solely for Medicaid recipients and has been in place for about eight years.

Crews will, for example, respond to a call for an ill person and learn the call is for a relatively minor reason, said Pvt. Sterling Rahe, Toledo Fire & Rescue Department spokesman.

They then can request a medical cab through Lucas County Emergency Medical Service, and the cab transports the patient to treatment, Private Rahe said.

Private Rahe said those on scene fully assess the resident as part of their due diligence. This option can meet certain needs, but not tie up resources, he said.

“There are times they may not be eligible by their status, and then we take the next steps to procure the right transportation for them, be it family member, friend, or if the patient is adamant, we will provide services for them,” Private Rahe said.

A cab ride is substantially less expensive than ambulance service, he said.

Scott Potter, co-owner of Black & White Transportation, said they conduct 1,500 to 1,700 runs annually for this county contract.

The company operates an automated dispatch system that finds the nearest vehicle for a call. Any driver in this service is certified in various health skills, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid.

“We're happy to do it and provide that service,” Mr. Potter said.

Job and Family Services reported data showing annual costs ranging from about $8,600 to $15,300 over the past five years. This year's contract has a maximum agreement of $17,500.

Officials discovered they cut unnecessary Medicaid costs with this setup, said Breda Osburn, deputy director of finance and operations at Job and Family Services.

Contact Ryan Dunn at, 419-724-6095, or on Twitter @RDunnBlade.