(Chesterfield, MO, July 17th, /360 Quality Care & Transport/) It was the 4th of July, a day most people take off to celebrate our country’s independence, a day of leisure and BBQ followed by fireworks. It’s also the biggest vacation week of the year for most of us Americans. A time to re-charge. But not for the Newman family and their company, 360 Quality Care & Transport Services.
For the Newman’s, alongside their employees and partners affectionately called Team 360, it was the start of an 11-day, 15-hour per day, work week that would put to test why they chose to go into business as a specialty transport provider in the Non-Emergency Medical Transport industry.
It was back in November, 2021, when Dr. Kelley Humphries-Mascoll, Executive Director of Paralympic Operations at Logan University, contacted Stephen Newman, President of 360. Her objective: seek out and qualify a suitable partner specializing in wheelchair and mobility challenged transport. This made perfect sense, since 360 exists as a patient transport provider for hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation facilities and long-term care communities throughout the St. Louis metro area. It seemed a suitable fit for what Logan had planned.
“We learned very quickly that this wasn't to be just any event. It was to be the first of its kind held in the United States, ever, and right in our own hometown!” says Newman. Logan University had recently announced that they were to host the 2022 World Para Powerlifting Parapan American Open Championships - a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Paralympics.
Newman and his team got to work, thinking through the complexities of such an undertaking. They went on to work on a plan to transport, daily, the more than 300 talented athletes, coordinators, and coaches - most having physical impairments and many reliant upon wheelchairs. This over the course of the 11-day period. The challenges were immense. The teams would show up on different planes, terminals, on different days and times on flights that were most often postponed, cancelled, or changed. Later it was determined that the competition would have teams arriving from 36 countries worldwide! But the challenges didn't stop there.
"Our business already runs at capacity most days. To take this on by ourselves would have disrupted our normal outflow of services to our beloved community. We are always concerned for the most vulnerable – the patients who need us the most, says Newman. We simply couldn’t let them down, and Team 360 didn’t.”
Friendship Village was eager to participate by providing the use of their larger wheelchair buses and help from their employees.
SSM Health Foundation of St. Louis joined in by helping plan media distribution to help bring attention to his vision. The plan was to bring attention to those with mobility challenges by embarking on a creative and collaborative journey to highlight the importance of transportation and the growing need. Especially when addressing chronic, acute, and catastrophic healthcare cases.
"We wanted to illustrate that the labor intensity required for wheelchair and mobility challenged transport cannot be taken for granted, especially for those most vulnerable in today's healthcare system" says Newman.
In all, 360 utilized their fleet of fifteen wheelchair vans alongside Friendship Village’s larger buses and vans to transport over 3,000 transport trips with 2,700 of them taking place in just a five-day period.
“Working side by side, we started our days as early as 2 AM and finished others well after midnight” says Newman. “Our combined driving team worked numerous, incredibly long hours without complaint, also loading and unloading over fourteen hundred bags and pieces of equipment. On July 4th alone, we provided 111 transports including 35 wheelchair transports, and in just over one hour that day, we completed 27 wheelchair transports and 23 ambulatory transports … all on a national Holiday!”
But what about the competition? "The competition was world class" said Carly Newman, Operations Director for 360 Quality Care & Transport Services. "Words simply cannot express the inspiration one gets when working an event like this". Case in point, Team USA member, Brett Forbes from Bonne Terre, Missouri. "Brett was born with Spina Bifida. but he just broke the World Rookie Record and took Bronze overall at just 16 years old! "I wouldn't have missed this for the world, my life is changed as a result of getting to know these athletes!" Team 360 took many photos throughout the competition.
A message from Stephen Newman:
I’m elated that we achieved and accomplished our short-term objective to manage the transportation requirements for this amazing event in a manner and style never experienced. But in truth it now re-sets the bar and gives our purpose driven company, 360, the confidence to achieve our bigger picture, the ongoing long-term goal of improving Access to Care for those most in need and those most at risk.
I’m elated that we’ve flawlessly accomplished our goal to make the St. Louis area proud throughout this event, but in truth, our real work still has a long way to go. Together, through partnerships, teamwork, commitments, and an undying drive to overcome adversity, just like the athletes we watched this week, we are intent on winning our own Access to Care Gold medal, and with a team like Team 360, I have no doubts that we’ll pull that off too!
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