ACC Midwest gives people rides to ‘anywhere they want to go for an appointment’
By Scott Thoma
Because of a growing need for transportation by senior citizens, disabled people, or those without transportation, ACC Midwest Transportation recently expanded its operations to a new location situated six miles north of Hutchinson.
“We are constantly growing and need a lot more space for our fleet of vans and buses,” said ACC Midwest and LaBraaten Bus Company manager Brianna Schornack, who has been with the company for nearly seven years; the last six as manager. “We officially moved out here in October of 2020.”
ACC Midwest Transportation is a Certified Special Transportation Provider designed to transport individuals from their residence, senior living facility or any other location, to their scheduled appointment.
ACC Midwest Transportation provides non-emergency medical transportation in central and north-central Minnesota. It serves the counties of Brown, Carver, Kandiyohi, LeSueur, McLeod, Meeker, Nicollet, Redwood, Renville, Scott, Sibley, Stevens and Wright.
“We will take them anywhere they need to go for an appointment,” said Eric LaBraaten, who is also the CEO of Midwest Transportation.
ACC Midwest is continuing to serve those in need of transportation for medical appointments or other means as it has in the past when it was located in Hutchinson.
“We continue to serve our surrounding towns of Hutchinson, Glencoe, Dassel, Litchfield, Gaylord and Winsted,” said Schornack. “We also continue to expand. We now service the Brainerd and Little Falls area. We also continue to grow in Duluth. We also have a small fleet of 10 drivers in Duluth, two drivers in Brainerd and one driver in Little Falls.
“We still service the Buffalo/Monticello area and are looking into getting into the Marshall and Willmar area. We are always willing to travel for our clients. We bring clients to the cities, St Cloud, and Western Minnesota on a daily basis.”
ACC Midwest and LaBraaten Bus Company is owned by Eric LaBraaten, who started the company eight years ago with a single van at his home in Hutchinson. ACC’s name comes from the first initial of each of LaBraaten’s three children; Alexa, Carter and Carson. LaBraaten formerly worked for a senior living facility and could see there was a big need for transportation of elderly and disabled individuals.
Because LaBraaten stresses to his drivers the importance of treating riders with courtesy and respect, the company continues to expand as more and more people use the service.
There are currently 70 employees that now work full or part time for ACC Midwest and LaBraaten Bus Company.
“We currently have 39 Special Transportation Wheelchair-accessible vans, six mini vans and cars for ambulatory service, as well as 10 oversized vans and six school buses we use to transport students.”
The only change from past year is the requirement that drivers wear a protective mask or shield when a client is in one of their vehicles during this pandemic period.
“First impressions are of our vehicles and therefore we like to keep them washed, vacuumed and sanitized on the regular,” Schornack said.
Clients immediately notice the cleanliness of the vehicle when they get in.
“A clean van is important because it represents the company,” one driver said. “People recognize it right away and point out how clean the vehicle is.”
When LaBraaten started his company, he felt the most important thing is to make his clients the top priority when riding in one of the ACC Midwest vehicles.
During this pandemic period, health is also a major issue concerning both drivers and their clients.
“We sanitize our vehicles after a client and students have been in them,” Schornack noted. “We also transport COVID-positive clients if we know ahead of transport. We have vans that are equipped with a divider for extra protection. Our clients safety is first and we transport them as we would transport our own family.”
Drivers also try to make the clients feel special by getting to know them during their travels together.
“Our drivers are sometimes the highlight to a client’s day, especially in this time of the pandemic,” said Schornack. “Most clients don’t get out often and when they do they like to make the most of it. I like to communicate to the drivers that our clients need someone to talk to and for someone to listen. It’s always fun to listen to the client because they may have some great life stories or lessons to tell.”
ACC’s drivers are all trained in first aid, passenger assistance and defensive driving. They are also required to be up to date on HIPPA regulations and be in accordance with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) rules and regulations.
Besides non-emergency medical transportation, ACC Midwest Transportation provides specialized transportation for weddings, funerals, museums and other social events. They also provide ambulatory, wheelchair and stretcher transportation seven days a week.
Many individuals that ride and pay for public transportation may qualify with insurance companies to ride with ACC Midwest Transportation.
“Insurance will often cover 100 percent of their medical transportation needs, such as trips to the doctor, chiropractor, dentist, physical therapy, eye doctor or other medical needs,” LaBraaten said.
LaBraaten Bus Service, which is under the same management as ACC Midwest Transportation, transports students in both charter and public schools to and from school, school activities, or field trips within a 30-mile radius of Hutchinson and Buffalo.
Another of the many valuable services ACC Transportation provides is delivery of breakfast and lunch to over 400 elementary and high school students in Hutchinson and several smaller communities in the surrounding area, including Dassel, Litchfield and Glencoe.
LaBraaten is grateful to have such a valuable and caring team at ACC Midwest.
“I credit my staff as the reason for all of ACC’s success,” he insisted.
ACC Midwest Transportation, whose motto is “Transportation you can Trust” is now located at 16506 MN Highway 15, Dassel, MN 55325. It is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 6 a.m. to noon, and Sunday by appointment only. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday., and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
For more information or to make an appointment for transportation, call 320-455-9200, or email email@example.com. Also visit them on their website at www.accmidwest.com, or on Facebook.
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