ThedaCare, Valley Transit Team Up on Bus Route

Fox Cities Bus Service Now Serves Encircle Health, ThedaCare Pediatrics

Area residents have increased access to health care thanks to a new Valley Transit route, the first in a decade. Valley Transit recently launched Route 16, which includes multiple stops on Appleton’s northeast side, including Appleton Medical Center, Copps Food Store, Encircle Health (a Partnership with ThedaCare), Valley Packaging and ThedaCare Physicians-Pediatrics in Appleton.

Dave Anderla, MD, a family physician at ThedaCare Physicians-North and Encircle Health’s medical director, approached the city with the idea of expanding the route. By adding the new stops, he said riders will have an easier time getting to their medical provider and other businesses on the route, such as Copps and Valley Packaging.

“Access to health care for all people is an important mission of our community and affordable transportation is a key part of that process,” Dr. Anderla said. “We look forward to years of future partnership with Valley Transit and appreciate their efforts in helping make this a reality.”

The route is the first new one added by Valley Transit in more than a decade. The Fox Cities LIFE Study, which came out last year, identified the integral role public transportation holds in the community’s health, said Valley Transit General Manager Deborah Wetter.

“Public transit plays an important role in ensuring access to healthcare services and adds to a community’s quality of life by ensuring citizens receive appropriate medical attention,” she said. “Studies show that without access to the reliable, affordable transportation option public transit provides, many people would forgo preventative healthcare visits which can have a detrimental effect on a patient’s care.”

To celebrate the new route, ThedaCare is planning several special activities during the week of May 14 for Route 16 riders including discounted food and beverages at Copper Rock inside Encircle Health, prize drawings for cookbooks and bus passes, and special guest riders who will answer health related questions.

The special guests will be on the bus from about 1 to 3 p.m. and include:

  • Mon., May 14: Dean Gruner, MD, president and CEO of ThedaCare, and Mayor Tim Hanna, who will answer questions related to public transportation
  • Tues., May 15: Shana Hussin, health coach and registered dietitian with ThedaCare At Work
  • Wed., May 16: Mary Vils, health coach with ThedaCare At Work
  • Thurs., May 17: Tina Czarnik, nurse with ThedaCare Physicians-North at Encircle Health
  • Fri., May 18: Gerry Hamm, health coach with ThedaCare At Work

Before the new route was added, Wetter said riders faced up to a mile walk from a bus stop to their healthcare providers. “For our riders with disabilities, this was impossible and led to increased use of our more expensive demand-response services. Fixed-route bus service – like the new route – can provide transportation to these destinations on a regular basis at a fraction of the cost for riders and taxpayers,” she said.

Valley Transit provides safe, reliable and convenient public transportation services to 10 municipalities and 3 counties in the Fox Cities. Specialized transportation is also provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act by Valley Transit II, for people who are unable to use the fixed route buses.