For years, Dr. David Kosh has been taking care of patients at Associated Family Physicians clinic in Old Town on C Street and has seen how many patients have trouble getting to appointments and other healthcare related places. For Blue Shield patients here in Galt, that changed on Oct. 1.

“Patients can come from any area served by Lyft, including the rural areas around Galt,” Kosh said. “This will avoid a need for family members to take off work to drive them or for the patients to pay a neighbor to do so. The patients can arrange a ride on an app, or if they do not have a smart phone, [they] will be given an 800 number to call. They will be able to go to either of our offices, even to get an x-ray in Sacramento, or to the pharmacy. We draw blood in our office in Galt as there are no labs here, so they will not need Lyft to take them to the lab.”

Kosh said he serves patients at both the South Sacramento Methodist Hospital and has for almost 30 years, and at the Galt clinic for much of that time. He believes helping patients with transportation will be valuable for many. The Blue Shield program is named RideQ.

“We opened an office years ago in Galt in order to make it easier for our patients so they would not have to travel far to get to the office,” Kosh said. “Galt is a medically underserved community – no labs, no x-rays and minimal doctors. It (RideQ) will only indirectly help the insurance company, if they can help patients stay healthier. I think they are looking to help people as a service and not as a money saver. We will benefit by knowing our patients can get to see us easier, and by knowing that they will be able to go get x-rays.”

Kosh said that this is currently only for Blue Shield patients and not for Medicare beneficiaries. Those patients may also have the service after Jan. 1, 2020.

RideQ will also be available to Blue Shield patients in the Sacramento area and possibly benefit over 1,000 patients. Patients who qualify for the RideQ pilot will get an email inviting them to sign up. Blue Shield will study the program over the next 12 months to see the benefits.