Bikeshare Program Takes Healthcare in New Route

The CCO in Corvallis worked with government officials and local businesses to create this innovative program.

The Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments, in partnership with the Intercommunity Heath Network Coordinated Care Organization has launched “Pedal Corvallis,” a community bikeshare program to help Medicaid members reach their medical appointments.

“We’re excited to partner with the IHN-CCO and the city to bring bikeshare to Corvallis,” said Fred Abousleman, executive director of Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments. “Pedal Corvallis is a healthy and affordable way to meet the transportation needs of our Medicaid members and community.”

Often bikeshare programs fail to recognize the needs of the lower-income population, said Phil Warnock, community and economic development director of Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments. “We took that to heart to make sure the program served CCO members.”

Pedal Corvallis has 33 bikes and 2 trikes with the trikes helping those who can pedal but have balance problems. They all include baskets to carry limited cargo.

The bikeshare stations are within two blocks of a Corvallis Transit stop and concentrated in areas where CCO members generally reside or access services.

“We appreciate what Pedal Corvallis can offer to our members and our community,” said Kim Whitley, COO of InterCommunity Health Network CCO. “Not only is biking a flexible transportation option that provides independence, it can also help improve health and reduce risks of heart disease and diabetes.”

The Council of Governments, under contract with IHN-CCO to provide non-emergent transportation, receives funding through an alternative payment method that requires shared savings be reinvested. To create this first-ever bikeshare program, they spent about $100,000.

“We want to be purposeful in reaching Medicaid members with this program,” Warnock explained. “IHN-CCO recognizes the social determinants of health that go beyond access to doctors and we want to make sure we support their efforts.”

Other financial backers include Sam Fit, Linn-Benton Community College, NuScale Power, Corvallis Area MPO, First Alternative Co-op, and Woodstock’s Pizza. The Council of Governments also worked closely with the City of Corvallis, Benton County, Corvallis School District 509J, Oregon State Credit Union, and Samaritan Health Services.

Pedal Corvallis is available to all community members age 18 and older who can purchase a yearly pass for $25, a month pass for $10, or a 3-day pass for $5. Rides under two hours are free with each additional hour costing $3. The bikeshare program fees are waived for CCO members.

Biking just 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of heart disease by 82 percent and the risk of diabetes up to 58 percent. Pedal Corvallis is new to IHN-CCO members, but those living in in Jackson County have had a similar program since 2015 thanks to a partnership between Jackson County CCO and the United Way.

“We relied on them for additional information and tips,” Warnock said. “It was helpful to have their experience as we created Pedal Corvallis.”

To learn more about the program, click here

Joanne can be reached at joanne.scharer@gmail.com.

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