UT Health SA program offers free rides to appointments for patients with substance use disorder

Be Well Texas has partnered with Lyft to eliminate transportation barrier for patients

SAN ANTONIO – There are a lot of things that make recovery difficult for people with substance use disorders.

“I was what they called a serial relapser. I had several DWIs. I also had controlled substance issues, a felony that came with that in county jail,” said Richard Hamner, who moved to San Antonio years ago for treatment.

Hamner bounced around to many recovery centers and remembered transportation being a barrier.

“It was necessary to have all of those different resources available, but when you don’t have transportation, and you can’t get there, or you need to connect, yeah, that’s huge,” he said.

In his full circle journey, Hamner is now a program manager for Be Well Texas, a UT Health San Antonio program treating patients statewide for opioid and other substance use disorders.

His team noticed their patients were dealing with that transportation issue, so they decided to eliminate it.

“They need to go to the lab to get their labs done for our providers? We take them. They need to go pick up their medication? We also provide rides for them,” said Claudia Draper, practice manager for Be Well Texas.

Draper said they teamed up with Lyft Health about two months ago.

Now, if their patient needs a ride to an appointment, all they have to do is call a Be Well Texas staff member. The staff will then jump on the Lyft app and book a ride, allowing them to go directly to their appointments.

“Just hop in your car and go 15 minutes, and you’re there. You might take 2 hours on the bus because of the route you have to take,” Hamner said.

Both Draper and Hamner can already tell fewer patients are missing their appointments, and soon, that will show in their recovery.

They hope anyone in the community struggling with substance use disorder will reach out to them.

“We do have different plans available for anybody. Doesn’t matter what insurance or no insurance. We have plans to help them cover that,” Draper said.

For more information, call (210) 450-5370 or head to the Be Well Texas website.


Bexar County deputies equipped with 2,000 doses of Narcan paid for by opioid settlement

About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.