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Brasher couple operated ambulette service

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BRASHER FALLS - A Brasher Falls couple with roots in Brushton are now operating a non-emergency ambulette service in the north country.

Barry Russell, 49, and his wife, Melodye, are co-owners of Allen Care Medical Transport. Mr. Russell said they are currently running one vehicle that is equipped to handle a wheelchair or stretcher, but he would ideally like to expand to a fleet of three. He said business has been picking up since they started making their first runs in December.

“We’re starting to feel really confident about it,” he said, noting that he is licensed to serve Franklin, St. Lawrence, Essex, and Clinton counties.

He said the medical transport business allows him to fulfill his community-oriented spirit.

“It’s nice to have a business that’s involved in the community and makes a difference, helps people out,” he said, adding that he feels it’s important to engage his customers on the ride to make them feel welcome and at ease.

Mr. Russell pointed to a vacuum that Max Faubert’s transport service left in the area when he closed shop after 30-plus years, and although he is still building he hopes to one day fill those shoes.

He emphasized that Allen Care is his business; he did not buy Faubert’s.

Mr. Russell said starting Allen Care required extensive research into state Department of Transportation and Medicaid requirements and regulations. He spent about two months gathering information just to make sure the business would be viable, then had to go through an application process that took more than six months. But after he did his homework plus adding in a few of his own observations, he felt he was doing the right thing by moving forward.

“The baby boomers are the largest cross-section of our population and they are just starting to come into retirement now. They ... didn’t take care of themselves,” Mr. Russell said.

Allen Care Medical Transport charges the equivalent of a Medicaid reimbursement to the non-insured. Medicare does not cover their services.

“I hope someday that Medicare will start covering it,” Mr. Russell said, adding that he would like to petition lawmakers to push for the change once he is more established in the field.

Anyone seeking more information on Allen Care Medical Transport can call (518)651-9983.

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