According to President and CEO Wayne Miller, Choice Medical Transportation serves vulnerable patients who are often underserved by other companies.
Choice Medical Transportation
is a private ambulette service that provides transportation for wheelchair-bound patients to and from medical appointments and treatments, specializing in dialysis patients but also serving those undergoing cancer treatments, doctor visits, hospital discharges, and a variety of other issues.
According to President and CEO Wayne Miller – who founded Choice Medical Transportation in 2001 – the very specialized client base that the company serves can be especially vulnerable and are often underserved by other companies.
“These clients are the ones that need us most. We take them to and from private homes, nursing homes, and adult homes to doctor’s appointments,” he said. “We do a lot of hospital discharges, take people to and from dialysis and chemo centers, rehab centers, and so on. And on the way home if somebody needs to stop by a pharmacy to drop off a prescription, we can accommodate them in that way as well.”
Wayne, a veteran of our nation's military, boasts an impressive 35 years in the ambulette business. After getting out of the military, he first worked in auto sales for 20 years – as well as serving as an EMT in his community – before transitioning into the medical transport field, where he helped several local companies grow and achieve considerable success before deciding to strike out on his own.
“I eventually decided to open up my own company instead of making other people successful,” Wayne said; he started Choice Medical Transportation in 2001 with only two vans, and today he now boasts a fleet of over 30.
Like many businesses, Choice saw their numbers dip during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they were still considered an essential business and local dialysis clinics and governments relied on them to help them out when things were at their very worst, Wayne said.
“When I started the company I found my niche, and that was serving dialysis clients. I saw that was something that was needed, so I focused our business on those clients”, he said. “We hit a point during the pandemic where other companies were forced to shut their doors during the worst of it, but I was allowed to continue to operate. Suffolk County actually stepped up and gave Choice personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for free, because we really performed a lot of community services for them when needed.”
“We are considered essential, especially for dialysis patients, so it doesn't matter if there's a pandemic, or if there's a really bad storm,” Wayne added. “We're always out there in the thick of it, taking our clients where they need to go so they can stay healthy.”
When speaking to Wanye, one gets the distinct impression that Choice Medical Transportation isn't just a career for him, but instead a true passion, giving him a way of helping the less fortunate members of our society get the healthcare that they so desperately need .
“I believe in this industry with all of my heart. For example, when Superstorm Sandy hit, Suffolk and Nassau County asked if Choice could help transporting people in wheelchairs, and we moved over 400 private residents and nursing homes from both counties that were in the low-lying areas that flood,” he said. “They told me that FEMA was going to take care of my costs, but FEMA rejected me because I'm a for-profit company. Local government officials stepped in on my behalf and sent letters to FEMA, but in the end I didn't end up getting paid at all. But I honestly don't regret stepping up and helping out during Long Island's time of need. It's a way of giving back, and I was proud to do it.”
Wayne noted that he's also done a great deal of fundraising for charities that benefit dialysis patients over the years, as well as numerous other worthy causes.
“When you're on dialysis it's actually very expensive, and a lot of these people often have to make the decision between paying their mortgage and paying for their medicine,” he said. “So a lot of the money I would donate to these dialysis clinics would often go to the patients to pay for their medication, as well as other things they might need.”
As a means of helping his company continue to grow and to reach the next level of success, Wayne recently brought on new board member and partner Marcus Damas, and despite the fact that he's only been with the company for several months, he's already made a big impact.
“I was interested in getting into the ambulette business, and I met Wayne and he invited me to talk with him, and a 20-minute conversation turned into an hour and a half,” Marcus said. “He told me all about his passion for it, all about helping people, and that really ignited my passion for it as well. He gave me the opportunity to invest in something, and I took him up on his offer and even though I've only been here a short time, I've really learned a great deal and I really share Wayne's passion.”
Wayne spoke with pride over his relationship with Marcus; he had always wanted to get his own children involved in the business, but all three of his daughters took different paths in life. However, Wayne seems to think of Marcus as a surrogate son of sorts, and is proud to be passing his immense knowledge of the business on to him.
“When I met Marcus, I saw something in him that I hoped would take this company to further heights in the industry,” he said. “I really feel that Marcus will be that person that I've always hoped one of my own children would be, and so far he's really stepped up to the plate and it's really been a value and a pleasure to me. It's great to come to work with him every day.”
And that professionalism and passion extends from the very top of his company, filtering all the way down to the drivers that deal directly with their clients each and every day. Wayne reflected back upon one particular heartwarming story regarding one of his drivers going above and beyond for a client, with no thought of any reward for themselves.
“One time I had a driver pick up a woman new to Choice for dialysis during the winter time, and she didn't own a jacket. A lot of dialysis patients feel very weak after their treatment, so I always make sure the same person picks them up and drops them off, to establish a relationship between them,” Wayne said. “So this driver, out of their own pocket, bought this woman a jacket so she could keep warm. When the client called me up to tell me about it, I offered to reimburse him for his kindness, but he wouldn't take a dime. He said he did it from his heart, because he felt we were all a family. And that really epitomizes what my company is all about.”