Thursday, January 28, 2021

Courtesy Shuttle Van

Our Shuttle service is a big hit with our patients.

Courtesy Shuttle VanCourtesy shuttles are usually reserved for resorts and airports -- or sometimes even hospitals and ophthalmologists -- but a Buffalo, N.Y., family physician puts his own vehicle to work as an extra service for his patients.

It's an outreach tool that has definite business advantages for Raul Vazquez, MD, who runs Urban Family Practice P.C. Not only does he receive the marketing benefit of having his well-marked minivan driving around the neighborhood, but he also ensures that his missed appointments are kept to a minimum.

"My no-show rate is 5% to 10%," Dr. Vazquez said. "Most practices are 20% or more."

What started as a simple service for patients has turned into an integrated feature of the practice. Any patient within a five-mile radius of the practice is eligible for the service, which gives one fewer reason to miss an appointment. It's particularly useful during the blustery winter months in Buffalo, when driving can be treacherous.

Even staying within five miles of the office, the vehicle logs nearly 20,000 miles a year. It's busy enough to necessitate hiring a full-time driver, who, incidentally, is Dr. Vazquez's uncle, a former New York City taxi driver.

There are costs associated with the minivan, of course, including gas, maintenance and an additional insurance policy, including increased coverage for transporting patients. The vehicle is not equipped for disabled patients because of the liability issues involved, but the practice tries to accommodate people who need assistance as best it can.



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