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HealthPULSE shuttle pilot project starts with bringing healthcare students here for placements

Connecting students from Loyalist College with placement opportunities in Prince Edward County is the goal of a new HealthPULSE shuttle pilot project – with more ideas to come forward.

Tuesday night, council directed staff, the mayor and CAO to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Loyalist College for the shuttle, and to broaden specialized transit eligibility criteria as needed to enable pilot programs to meet local needs, provided they do not impact the tax levy.

Julianne Snepsts, programs supervisor with the county, explained two pilot transit programs to council Tuesday night.

“The first initiative is the HealthPULSE shuttle, which would begin in May 2024, is funded by Loyalist College, and will transport Loyalist students to HJ McFarland long term care home to undertake their work-integrated learning placements as part of their program.

“If successful, the pilot will grow to serve more Loyalist programs providing more student placements and involving other healthcare worker employers in the County as this expands in the fall.

HealthPULSE is a regional partnership between Hastings County, Quinte West, Belleville, Prince Edward County, Quinte Health and Loyalist College. PULSE stands for Partners United in Local Solutions for Everyone, aimed at reinventing rural health care.

The long-term goal is to encourage students to transition from temporary work-study placements to long-term employment in County health organizations.

The second initiative is enhanced transit services to support people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of losing housing.

“In 2024, this policy change would be coupled with free transit passes provided using funding from the Prince Edward Lennox and Addington Social Services (PELASS) Homelessness Prevention program.”

Snepsts’ report notes “There is considerable work being done on the transit file as the municipality prepares to transition out of the provincial Community Transportation Grant program, which has provided more than $1,000,000 in funding for transit in the County between 2018 and 2025.

“Staff are undertaking a transit program refresh which includes a review of the existing system as well as a long-term planning process to address the future of transit in the County.

“Parallel to this process, staff are leveraging special funding opportunities and partnerships to develop solutions to meet immediate community needs. These initiatives have their own goals and objectives but will contribute to transit’s success by raising awareness of transit services, and increasing transit revenues and ridership.”

 

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