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'BUS' proves a lifesaver for Baldwin

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By Shannon Brock

For Stanley Baldwin, it's this simple: the Bluegrass Ultra-transit Service, or BUS, is one of the reasons he's still alive.

This October will make four years since Baldwin, 60, learned that his kidneys had started to fail him. And this October will make four years since Baldwin started riding the BUS, sponsored by the Bluegrass Community Action Partnership, to his dialysis treatments in Frankfort.

And Tuesday, the BUS helped make his life even better.

Baldwin recently signed up for the New Freedom initiative, a transportation service offered to disabled individuals at a reduced fare of 50 cents per mile with a three-mile minimum one way.

For the first six to eight months of treatment, Baldwin's transportation to and from dialysis on the BUS was covered by Medicaid, but after that time frame, he had to start paying his own way.

At regular cost, transportation on the BUS is $1 per mile, Baldwin said. Paying this rate, Baldwin said he could only afford the BUS one way. Thankfully, his family and neighbors stepped in to take him to Frankfort, and he rides the BUS back to Lawrenceburg.

"I'm just thankful I have relatives, friends and the BUS," he said. "Otherwise, I'd die."

Recently, Baldwin noticed an advertisement for the New Freedom initiative. After checking into it, he realized he qualified. So with a signed form from his doctor, his costs were cut in half.

"Now instead of paying $27 a week, it's $13.50," Baldwin said.

The BUS operates from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The transportation form for the BUS can be picked up at the Anderson County Senior Citizens Center, 160 Township Square, or it can be accessed online at www.bluegrasscommunityaction.org under "BGCAP News."

The form must be completed by the individual's personal physician, a physician's assistant, an advanced registered nurse practitioner or a qualified mental health professional. Forms should be returned to: BUS, P.O. Box 738, Frankfort, Ky. 40602.

For more information, call BUS at 800-456-6588.

Baldwin said his friends, family and the BUS help him keep a positive outlook even though the four-hour dialysis treatments, three days a week take a lot of his energy.

"But it's better than not living at all," he said. "I could be sad or upset about it, but I think it's better to live life until it ends."