Many Philadelphia residents have only heard of CATCH because they have seen a CATCH van driving in their neighborhood. While CATCH has been providing transportation to consumers over the past two decades, the CATCH van has become even more ubiquitous over the past year. Since July, 2017 the CATCH Transportation department has provided transportation to and from day integrated recovery programs offered by CATCH, JEVS, Elywn, Horizon House, Consortium, JFK and Northeast Community Mental Health Center.

2018 has seen major change in the Transportation department. In the fall of 2017, CATCH decided to bring the management of Transportation in-house effective January, 2018. For the past two years, Transportation had been managed by Chestco Management Corporation.   In December, 2017, John Mastrobuoni was hired as the new manager of this program. Then, in January 2018, CATCH was asked by Logisticare (with whom it contracts to transport consumers to their medical appointments) to take over the NHS PACT contract with three weeks’ notice! In late January, CATCH began providing transportation services for NHS Pact, providing services to and from school for 48 pre-school children. CATCH purchased four new vans that have been equipped with car seats and labeled for the specific service which they provide. Along with this new equipment, the transportation department also assumed the role of monitoring and reporting on the consumers’ behavior to school staff and family members. In this way, our drivers have become an integral part of the community. We are no longer just a means of getting consumers from place to place. Our Transportation Department is now helping make a difference in the lives of those we serve on a more personal level.

The chance to collaborate with NHS Pact doesn’t come without risks. Due to the lack of a transition phase, Mr. Mastrobuoni’s staff had to embark on this endeavor without much training. While some of the drivers transitioned from the previous provider, several needed to be newly hired and trained to handle young children with behavioral challenges. Mr. Mastrobuoni welcomes this challenge and hopes to double the number of NHS PACT children served in the future.

CATCH has also provided him with a much needed technology boost to help make all of their jobs easier. Building on its current transportation software, Transportation has secured iPads for all of its vans. The goal of this technology is to reduce the use of paper and eliminate the need to manually adjust a schedule that is printed each morning and used throughout the day. The new technology will allow for the uploading of manifests to each van, real time adjustments to the schedule, GPS navigation for mapping daily routes and better estimated arrival times for consumers. The new software also allows for real-time signatures which will increase efficiency and accuracy of billing cycles.

Mr. Mastrobuoni recognizes the difficulty in making these sweeping changes. However, he has already seen a change in his staff as they connect more with consumers. Mastrobuoni says that his staff’s high morale has been a key to their success and is optimistic that they have created a solid foundation for continued growth.